From Theresa Latini
Last week one of my friends tagged me on Facebook to complete the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I’ve known two people who died from this disease—a kind and humorous high school teacher and a generous elder from the congregation that launched me into ordained ministry. So I was happy to donate to research that might find a cure for this truly awful disease. At the same time, I was a bit ambivalent about completing the ice bucket part. Was this just a fun stunt that detracted from any serious discussion? Would this really contribute to care for people suffering from ALS? And most especially, what was I communicating by participating in this challenge while doing so little publicly to address the slaying of another young black man in America?
I read an inspiring article by a pastor whose husband is suffering with ALS, someone who expressed gratitude for this attention to the disease that had crippled her loved one. So I completed the challenge, posted the video on Facebook, made a donation, and challenged two more people to do the same. My husband took great delight in pouring water mixed with a 22 lb. bag of ice over my heard as I was finishing my not-so-grand soliloquy. Perhaps the preacher had said enough and he could finally do something about it! Yes, we had some fun with it as well.
Yet I haven’t been able to shake the sense that I couldn’t complete this challenge without doing something or at least saying something about the events that have unfolded in Ferguson, MO. Failure to speak out is tantamount to ignoring (and thus being complicit in) racism and injustice, and that is all too easy to do for any white person, myself included.