• Radical Reconciliation

    The Sacred Art of Listening

    As a Dean, a Diversity Professional, a Pastor, and a former Social Worker I’ve had my share of difficult conversations. In fact, I usually had a few every week. Mediating conflict, conduct violations, racial slurs, domestic and sexual abuse, child neglect and suicidal ideations. You name it, I’ve sat with it. So, I’ve tried to get really good at listening. When you really listen to someone with your eyes and your ears (90% of our communication is nonverbal)*, you often hear the things that lie beneath the words. Tone, pitch, rate, gestures, facial expressions, volume, and posture all tell us something about what the other person is trying to communicate.…

  • Radical Reconciliation

    Remember Her?

    Remember Her? She is daddy’s little girl and her mom’s pride and joy. Her smile lit up the room and her laugh was contagious. Sometimes I have to be reminded that I am her and she is me. She was full of hope and looked at the world with child-like wonder. Every day was an adventure and even when that adventure ended in tears, a hug would make it better. Sometimes I have to be reminded that I am her and she is me. She embraced play and had a vivid imagination. She was Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, Bat Girl, and She-Ra: The Princess of Power. She was Rosa Parks…

  • Radical Reconciliation

    Monday Musings: Fences

    Merriam-Webster’s defines a fence as “a barrier intended to prevent escape or intrusion or to mark a boundary”. In ancient civilizations, fences were the first line of defense and a means of protection. In our own way, we each build up fences to protect those things we hold dear. We fence in our hearts, our dreams, our ambitions, our secret thoughts. Sometimes we fence in people. Sometimes we fence in possessions. Building boundaries as a form of defense is natural and necessary. Fortifying Fences A while ago, I began to let down a fence I had erected around a particular person. It felt safe. They’d done a few things that…

  • Radical Reconciliation

    Monday Musings: Practicing Vulnerability

    A few weeks ago I did a pretty vulnerable thing. It was bucket list material. I shared something that I’d been sitting on for years! However, I only shared it with a select few people. Let me tell you, even THAT was scary. I handpicked the people I wanted to share with and second-guessed some. After the fact, I added a few others. Still, the anxiety about how my offering would be received and more importantly, what people would think about me persisted. If I’m honest, it still persists. Overall, the feedback has been incredibly constructive and supportive. But, there have been some awkward moments and difficult conversations. This was…

  • Radical Reconciliation

    Monday Musings: Help Somebody Cross

    Recently, Tyler Perry was awarded the “Icon” award by BET. In his moving acceptance speech, he talked about “helping somebody cross”. This adage became a litany throughout his speech. As you listen to Tyler’s speech below, I invite you to reflect on those who have “helped you cross” and reach out to them in gratitude this week. Along with that, ask yourself if you’ve done all that you can to help others “cross” (succeed, advance, overcome) around you. As you start your week, perhaps there is someone who has been on your mind that you need to reach out to. In our busyness, let us not ignore the still small…

  • Radical Reconciliation

    Monday Musings: Drainy people

    Chances are you know a few people who drain the life out of you. These are the people you actively avoid. You dread it when their number shows up on your caller ID. There is always some drama, some woe-is-me story, some negative experience they want to share with you. We all know these type of people. But, do we recognize when we’ve BECOME these people. When the “drainy” person is you, are you aware of it? Let’s purpose in our hearts to be fountains this week. Be the person that gives, nourishes, and refreshes; instead of the one that sucks and leaves others dry and depleted.

  • Radical Reconciliation,  Uncategorized

    Monday Musings: EC-ism #1 #NoCasualties

    My mother is a wise woman. She drops little nuggets and then walks away like she hasn’t just wrecked your entire world. We had one such moment this weekend. So, I’ve decided to begin a collection of “EC-isms” in her honor. An EC-ism is a quote or thought inspired by Effia Casenia Stripling (AKA mom). This one hit home. How many moments, ideas, and relationships has the pursuit of perfection stolen from us? How many laughs, memories, precious breaths and glimpses of sanity have I been robbed of chasing the alluring yet elusive promise of perfection? Well, I say enough is enough. I refuse to let another thing become a…

  • Radical Reconciliation

    Black History Month Series: Living Legends

    I met Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil at one of the most challenging times in my career. She was called in as a diversity consultant to help us in the aftermath of a series of racial incidents on campus. I’ll never forget picking her up from the airport in my red Ford F-150 truck. She and I shared a laugh about this bougie black woman driving a pick up truck (there is a sentimental story attached to my truck that I’ll share at a later time). I am eternally grateful for that first visit. She came in and cast a vision that compelled our diversity team to dig deeper and examine…

  • Radical Reconciliation

    Black History Month Series: Living Legends

    As a Diversity Professional, February was always an incredibly busy month. So much so that when I transitioned out of positions where programming for this month was included in my job description, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was refreshing to not worry about creating educational programming for other people. It was beginning to feel like a repetitive, white-washed chore that was designed to PROVE to majority culture that black people contributed to American history. EXHAUSTING!! These days I intentionally seek to educate myself about the history of the people who originated from Africa and “settled” (please notice the subtext in using that term) in these United States. There…