One: As we stand this Holy Week, we pause to name the agonizing crucifixion and the promise of resurrection of Black women and girls worldwide. Our intersectionality is a paradox; it is at once empowering and violent. It is at once bold and horrific. We live under the constant threat of racism, sexism, classism, poverty, and many other forms of sexualized and institutionalized violence.
Many: We commit to creating healing spaces so Black women and girls can take refuge in order to repair themselves; to repair ourselves. We acknowledge that brokenness is unsustainable. We acknowledge that woundedness is unsustainable. We acknowledge fatigue is unsustainable. We acknowledge chronic strength is unsustainable. We call forth healing. We call forth wholeness. We call forth rest.
One: Rekia Boyd. Sandra Bland. Renisha McBride. Tanisha Anderson. Aiyana Jones. Niza Morris. Mya Hall. These women, cis and transgendered, are our sisters, but became our ancestors far too soon at the hand of law enforcement officials. Some may have heard their stories, many other may not have. They come in a long line of Black women whose lives were sacrificed on the altar of American structural violence. In this moment, we call their names. And we breathe in honor of the fallen women whose names we will never know.
Many: We pay homage to our fallen sisters, known and unknown. In the midst of violence and fear, we invoke power. In the midst of invisibility, we invoke light. In the midst of silence, we invoke truth. We acknowledge her divinity. We acknowledge her humanity. We acknowledge her life. We call forth healing. We call forth wholeness. We call forth rest.
One: How many times have you ignored the cries of Black women and girls? How many times have you turned a deaf ear and nonseeing eye to her needs? How many times have you stopped to check in on your sister and daughter? ….
Many: I acknowledge and take responsibility for neglecting my sisters and daughters. I recognize that I am an extension of her body. I recognize that I am an extension of her being. I recognize I am an extension of her life. Going forward I commit to #seeher. Going forward i commit to #sayhername. We call forth healing. We call forth wholeness. We call forth rest.
One: We pause to thank our foremothers, who gave their lives for us. Harriet. Sojourner. Ida. Shirley. Fannie. Rosa. And the many others on whose shoulders we stand, and from whose wombs we were birthed. And now, name the Black women who have saved you with their own lives.
Many: Call out the names of the women in your life.
One: And we are thankful. For the tenacity, determination, and resourcefulness that we gained from them. For the challenges we have overcome, and for the trials that You have seen us through! We are thankful for the peace that has held us in the meantime. We are thankful for all that is to come, even though we cannot yet see it.
Many: We give thanks to you, Oh Merciful and Just God. Just like you held up our foremothers, we know that You will hold us up. We thank You for holding us. We know that in the depths of despair, You are our peace. We know that in unknown waters You are our guide. We give thanks for what we do not see, but know is coming. We give thanks for your unwavering love and just mercy. We call forth healing. We call forth wholeness. We call forth rest.
One: And in the spirit of resurrection, I call us now to rest. To pause from our labors and our losses. To take our hands off of our projects and our assignments. To say “no” when “no” is the most appropriate response. I call us to do the work of healing and restoring ourselves and our sisters.
ALL: We call forth healing. We call forth wholeness. We call forth rest.
Neichelle R. Guidry is the creator of ShePreaches.com and serves as the Liaison to Worship and Arts Ministries in the Office of the Senior Pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ on the South side of Chicago.
Liz S. Alexander is a womanist social worker, writer and advocate for justice-involved youth. She is the Founder of She Dreams of Freedom, a multimedia collaborative that uses diverse media platforms to raise awareness about the unique challenges experienced by girls in the juvenile justice system.