This week my thoughts have been on history. Given all that is going on, history seems an odd thing to focus on, but I am after all a historian.
Here is what I have been wondering: what will scholars fifty years from now write about the happenings of this past month? How will they interpret the events of these past four weeks? What will they say about August and September of 2017?
Surely in future history books, the last four weeks will get a shout out. After all, they have be filled with history-shaping experiences and events, beginning with August 11-12 and the horrifying and frightening display of white supremacy and hatred in Charlottesville; followed on August 25 by the landfall of Hurricane Harvey and the devastating flooding the storm caused in the Houston area and beyond; followed on August 29 by the release of the Nashville Statement, which declared that those in the LGBTQ community and those who support them cannot be Christian; followed on September 5 by President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which may result in the deportation of some 800,000 teenagers and young adult DREAMers; and now to be followed by the anticipated landfall of Hurricane Irma, which could be the largest natural disaster ever in the United States.
Given all that has unfolded in these past few weeks, all the hurt and pain for so many, historians will have lots to write about, and I hope that at least some of them recognize how hard this month in our history has been. There has been no rebounding time allowed. There has been no relief, no easy, carefree days. Those who have been directly impacted and those who have been paying attention have experienced overwhelming emotions of fear, anger, sadness, and hopelessness. Processing these events has been difficult, but mounting a response to all the various situations has seemed impossible.
If you are like me, you know this feeling of being overwhelmed–and numbed by all the events of this past month. I honestly don’t know how historians will write about this four-week period, but here is my hope. I hope they will tell the stories of young adults–the ones who are leading the way, the ones who are writing petitions and gathering signatures, the ones who are showing up at marches and standing on the steps of state capitol buildings, the ones who are calling their congressional delegates, the ones who are collecting needed supplies for flood victims and donating money for disaster recovery, the ones who are speaking out and standing firm. I hope historians will write about young adults like Alyssa Aldape and Anyra Cano, who have been faithful and vocal in their witness, who have been busy working for change as they address hard issues of social justice, and who have taken to the streets and have gone to city council meetings. These two and so many more young Christian adults have been an inspiration for me in the midst of dark days, and their active faith has given me hope in these past few weeks!
I am pretty sure I won’t be writing history fifty years from now, but if I am, I will be telling the stories of Alyssa and Anyra!
Pam Durso is executive director, Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia.