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Reflections on Reparations from Two of our Officers
February 24, 2021, 11:43 AM

All donations for February’s Healing Sunday Offering will be sent to the Diocese for the Reparations Fund. If you are donating funds, please make your check payable to the Diocese of Maryland and write Reparations Fund on the memo line. We are only sending donations specifically designated for this fund, and we will not contribute any additional money out of our St. Andrew’s church funds.

Terry McLean has asked to share her story of what reparations means to her and why it matters. Sue McDonald would also like to share her story of why she feels compelled to donate to the Reparations Fund.

A Reparations Story by Terry McLean, Registrar

What does reparations mean to me? The simple answer- “repairing the breach”...the grievous and egregious breach of trust experienced over hundreds of years by a group of people whose skin color didn't match the color of those who “made the rules”. Why does this matter to me? I wasn't there when the unfair laws and/or regulations were enacted; I didn't behave inappropriately towards people of color ... I am actually descended from a long line of abolitionists; why should I have to make reparations? Well, I'll tell you: I'm giving out of respect and in honor of the resilient and courageous life of Mrs. Lilly Mae Page. Mrs. Page was 84 years old when she shared the following story, in response to me asking her what was her most memorable experience as a young woman growing up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The question came about during a long, late night car ride, in which I was trying to get to know her better...and stay awake until I could drop her off at BWI to return home, after a McLean family reunion. I had happily left Tuscaloosa at the age of 18, and was not part of the years she “raised” my younger brothers and sisters, so I didn't know much about her life. She was quiet for a moment, and then, very matter of factly, she told me about seeing a young male friend of hers, when she was 18, hanging from a tree branch in a certain area of town. Not only was I shocked by what she told me, as this would have occurred in 1952, a few years before I was born, but I actually KNEW the tree she was talking about. She did not express bitterness or anger as she related the experience, but rather, a sad resignation that the people who committed this unspeakable act (and everyone in the community knew who they were) were never going to be held accountable for this horrendous crime. I'm quite sure I went to school with the descendants of some of these people. I cannot imagine the ongoing TRAUMA of seeing such a thing, knowing that there would be no justice. But maybe worse than that, was knowing that you would have to work for “those” people who had done this, for the rest of your working life. I just cannot imagine. And yet, Lilly Mae Page was kind, competent, compassionate, and very, very good at taking care of my little brothers and my father's household in the later years of her life, while my mother was incapacitated. She was the epitome of resilience and resolve, whether raising her own children or those of her “employer”... a faithful blessing to us and the community she lived in. Out of respect for her, I will do what I can to “repair the breach”. For me, reparations is not about admitting I did anything wrong … it is simply acknowledging that wrongs have been done ... and, as a society, we need to do better than that now. God calls us to love our neighbors, and, according to Psalm 37:3 to “do good”. If I might do some good now, I am glad to do so.

 

 

Why do I want to support the Reparations Fund? by Sue McDonald, Senior Warden

I see reparations as a means of making amends for a history of evil and unjust actions and laws toward my brothers and sisters with skin a darker shade of mine. It weighs heavy on my heart knowing my country participated in slavery, Jim Crow laws, lynching, redlining and many other means of oppression. Reparations for me acknowledges the evils of the past and moves on to repair these injustices toward healing. I worked with many black students in Baltimore City and know first-hand how after-school centers support and nurture these emotionally beat-up and oppressed kids. I can’t tell you how many adult stories I have heard or read telling how important and life-changing it was to have a safe place to go to where there was support and adults offering encouragement and building self-confidence. When I was young, I could safely ride my bike to fields to play sports or walk in the evenings for bible study, Christian dances or community concerts. Our youth can no longer safely commute to activities. They need local safe places to go to where they can support each other, benefit from fellowship, exercise and have adults there who will inspire them to achieve and thrive. These safe places need financial support. My hope is the Reparations Fund will seek these local safe centers to donate funds which will secure this method of support and healing for our future emotionally beat-up and oppressed kids so they may grow up in a more just, diverse and accepting society.