February is Black History Month in the United States. Regardless of your skin color, black history is your history. It’s American history. It’s our history. Let’s celebrate it.
This month make racial justice your group’s focus by honoring the work of our black forebears and taking part in the justice work still to be done. The United Methodist Women Charter for Racial Justice and Racial Justice Time Line are available for free at www.umwmissionresources.org. Make sure your church has copies.
Begin paying attention to how race is portrayed in popular culture—television shows, movies, toys, news reporting, magazines, advertisements. Is every person’s image mirrored and affirmed, or is one race presented as the “norm,” the “ideal”? Chances are most of the images you’ll see in media targeted to “mainstream” America are white people. God’s definition of beauty clearly includes more than just white characteristics, so why doesn’t ours?
This issue goes to press soon after a popular white news anchor mocked a black writer for suggesting Santa be presented as something other than a white man. What do you think about a Santa of color? What about other pop culture figures? Wonder Woman? Captain America? A new remake of the film “Annie” features a black girl as the orphan Annie and a black man as Daddy Warbucks—what do you think about these choices? As you pay attention to media images this month, take time to thank the companies, television networks, publishers, etc., that represent many races (and do so accurately and fairly). The “Mission That Makes for Peace” photo essay shows a glimpse of God’s diversity, our brothers and sisters and partners.
This issue is especially celebratory of the good work your Mission Giving makes happen. Pages 18-31 feature our mission maps, highlighting where in the world your money has gone and the work it’s doing. Every mark, every number on the maps represents a person for whom you made life better. In addition, Yvette Moore writes about the work of your Call to Prayer and Self-Denial offerings. You make the world better not only with your giving but with your prayers and advocacy. These national and international mission projects you support are also included in the United Methodist Women Prayer Calendar, and are tweeted daily from our Twitter account at www.twitter.com/UMWomen.
Keep giving, keep praying, keep giving the unheard a place to be heard, and together we’ll keep changing the world. We can make this world one in which all thrive.