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Embracing Our Shared Journey: A Latina’s Reflection on Black History Month

In the moments of reflection that Black History Month brings, my heart is full of thoughts shaped by the rich tapestry of my own family. Being a Mexican-American woman, sister to both a Hispanic brother and a Black brother, and aunt to a Black/Navajo niece, I've been blessed with a deeply personal lens through which to view the interconnectedness of our struggles and triumphs. This familial bond has not only nurtured my understanding of the complexities of race, culture, and identity but has also solidified my commitment to celebrating all people with genuine reverence and purpose. It remains a constant bedrock for who I am and how I am in life.

This month serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience and empowerment that can flourish when a community is acknowledged, honored, and cherished as God’s beloved. It is a time, but never the only time, to remember the trials and victories of the Black community, to recognize their indelible impact on the fabric of society, and to affirm their intrinsic worth as children of God. Through the stories of historical figures and everyday heroes alike, we are reminded of the transformative power of visibility and recognition.

To me, Black History Month is not just an annual observance; it is a vibrant testament to the strength of the human spirit against centuries of injustice. I envision the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada embracing Black History Month not just as a period of reflection but as a clarion call to action. I boldly invite us all to this. We are called to grasp the profound roots of racism and work tirelessly to eradicate the systemic injustices that still scar our society. Let us foster meaningful dialogues, engage in community activism, and lift the voices of Black leaders past and present. By doing so, we honor to the legacy of those who have paved the way for progress but also contribute to a future where every person is valued as a beloved child of God. This work does not belong to the Black Community alone. This is the work of the body of Christ, and we are all called to it, and Lent brings with it a reminder of this.

In my family, the convergence of BIPOC identities has painted a vivid picture of the broader struggle against oppression and the quest for dignity and equality. Conversations, often centered around themes of social justice, faith, and identity, have instilled in me a profound appreciation for the strength derived from our diverse experiences, both separate and together. They have taught me that our liberation is indeed intertwined, echoing the biblical teaching that we are all members of one body in Christ, and “if one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1Corinthians 12:12-27).

As we navigate the challenges of our current era, the observance of Black History Month during Lent offers a poignant opportunity for reflection and action to deepen our understanding of this shared journey and to recommit ourselves to the work of building God's beloved community.

The Hispanic/Latino community and the Black community have more in common than that which the inequitable and unjust systems care to portray. The systemic work to keep us divided demonstrates a fear that exists recognizing that not if, but when we stand together, we are stronger. The way to justice is together because together we are all stronger.

As a Latina woman in ministry, I find a profound connection with the struggles and aspirations of the Black community. Our histories may be distinct, yet they converge on the path of seeking justice, dignity, and equality for all God's children. When we work together to lift others up, we are all lifted up. When we work individually to lift ourselves up, over and in spite of others, we are all torn down.

Let us embrace the stories of the Black community with open hearts and minds, allowing their narratives of faith, perseverance, and victory to embolden us. As we walk through Black History Month, let us be ever mindful of the full expanse of God's creation. Let the tales of endurance, bravery, and belief spur us on to greater acts of love and service. May we not only build bridges of understanding but also have the courage to stand upon them, advocating for solidarity when it is needed most. The more steps we take on this bridge, the closer we become, the stronger our connections grow.


Rev. Lori Tapia serves as National Pastor for the Obra Hispana of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the US and Canada. Pastor Lori is passionate about Jesus, the power of relationships in spiritual formation, and empowering others to live authentically in their God given and Spirit led identity. Lori is a DSF/CST alumna (M.Div./2017), a DSF board member and donor, and actively engages in areas of social justice as an intentional witness of her faith.


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