fbpx
Love Anyway

After Ahmaud Arbery’s Killing, Will We Change?

Ahmaud Arbery’s life is more than a hashtag. The story is all too familiar—men and boys losing their lives for no other reason than that they are Black. In this special episode, we hear from Toni, Preemptive Love’s director of gathering, and her husband Sam Collier about their lived experiences as African American peacemakers living in Georgia, the very state where Ahmaud was murdered. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, the Colliers act as candid guides helping us confront the violence in our own hearts.

Ahmaud Arbery’s life is more than a hashtag. The story is all too familiar—men and boys losing their lives for no other reason than that they are Black. In this special episode, we hear from Toni, Preemptive Love’s director of gathering, and her husband Sam Collier about their lived experiences as African American peacemakers living in Georgia, the very state where Ahmaud was murdered. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, the Colliers act as candid guides helping us confront the violence in our own hearts.


Show Notes

We’ll be back next week with our last regularly scheduled episode of season 4. But this conversation is too important to wait. Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, was jogging in a southern Georgia neighborhood on February 23 when he was chased, gunned down, and killed by two white men. (Only after a graphic video of his killing was recently posted online, and a wave of public outcry followed did authorities move to press criminal charges, more than two months after he was shot.)

This story is all too familiar—and all too common. Men and boys losing their lives, for no other reason than that they are Black. Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Philando Castille are a few names you might recognize… though there are countless more. And now there’s another. Ahmaud Arbery.

So we’re asking: What do we do in this moment? How do we respond? Can we possibly hope to end violence somewhere else in the world if we do not confront the violence in our own communities… and in our own hearts?

Some background: For the past two episodes of the Love Anyway podcast, we sat down with Toni Collier. Toni leads our gathering program here at Preemptive Love, working to build the world’s most diverse community of peacemakers on the planet. You heard her quote Martin Luther King Jr., another Black man who was murdered, as inspiration for the peacemaking work that she leads. You heard her passionately lay out the case for gathering with those who are different from you to heal what’s tearing us apart.

Sam and Toni Collier live in Atlanta, where they are involved with The King Center, which continues the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to create a more just, humane, and peaceful world. / Photo courtesy of Toni Collier.

Some background of this special episode: Toni and her husband Sam live in the same state where Ahmaud was murdered. Both she and her husband Sam have been actively involved in helping faith leaders and justice organizations respond to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

In this episode: Podcast producer Kayla Craig has a conversation with Toni’s husband, Sam Collier. They talked through what the killing of Ahmaud brought up for Sam. Just a note, this is a stripped-down conversation, with minimal editing.

Sam Collier is a pastor, speaker, writer, and host of the A Greater Story with Sam Collier TV show and radio podcast, and author of A Greater Story, his forthcoming book.

Sam Collier shares his experiences in this special bonus episode of Love Anyway. Here, he stands with prominent leaders at the 2020 King Center commemorative gala, from left: Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, Natosha Reid Rice, Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Mr. Luther King, Jr, Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, and Sam Collier.  / Photo courtesy of Toni Collier.

Toni’s Action Steps In This Moment:

  1. Listen to people who are not like you. People that are experiencing pain and moments in history that may not directly impact you. “What does listening look like in this context? Well, it looks like you leaving your biases in the parking lot, checking your beliefs and thoughts at the door. And listening for the purpose of understanding and validating emotion.”
  2. Try your best to understand what’s happening in our world, while honoring the dignity of those that are different from you, and those that are impacted by it. “Maybe that means not sharing your thoughts that could be offensive. Maybe that means while you’re talking to a friend, in this case from the African American community, honoring who they are.”
  3. Understand the power of apology in moments like this. “Sometimes, we get to rise above what we’ve done personally, and take on the effects of people that may look and believe, like us who have caused the pain. Sometimes, it’s just about apologizing for how a person feels, and what they have experienced.”
  4. Put your love into action. “We don’t know what that looks like for you, and where you are right now. But it may be you sitting down with your family and watching the news about this, reading captions of hundreds of African American people who are hurting right now and just leaning and learning and watching and pressing in.”
Sam Collier is a speaker and host at North Point Ministries, founded by Andy Stanley, and he also communicates nationally and internationally as a speaker.

Quote from this episode: “Nonviolence isn’t weak. It’s courageous. And so with that being said, I would say if you’re going to make peace in the world, if you’re going to love across enemy lines, if you’re going to reconcile, if you’re going to agitate for the purpose of negotiating, to get to the table, to ultimately reconcile as we solve the ills of the world and the evils of the world, then you have to be committed, you have to be courageous.” —Sam Collier

As we hear in this episode, peacemaking starts with us. And the actions we take today help to end the next war before it even begins. It helps to create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible for us, for our children, and for the people that inhabit the world after us.

If you want to be a part of our peace efforts today, right now, text the words “teach me” to 72000.

Additional Resources

Racism: There’s Something in the Water

Racism is more than an offensive photo of someone dressed up in blackface or a KKK outfit. Racism and white supremacy are the waters we swim in. We need new water.

Love Anyway

When We Gather Again, Who Will We Be?

We’re looking ahead. Because when all of this is over, we’re going to run hard toward gathering. We need each other. We hear from Vjolca Capri, who gives her first-hand experience of attending a Love Anyway Gathering. As a hijab-wearing Muslim woman, she wasn’t sure what to expect when she attended one. What she experienced surprised her.

Dr. King Was Not A Superhero

Let's celebrate together this weekend, but in doing so let’s honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the person he was, not just the quips he inspires.

Full Transcript

Sam: Nonviolence isn’t weak. It’s courageous. And so with that being said, I would say if you’re going to make peace in the world, if you’re going to love across enemy lines, if you’re going to reconcile, if you’re going to agitate for the purpose of negotiating, to get to the table, to ultimately reconcile as we solve the ills of the world and the evils of the world, then you have to be committed, you have to be courageous. 

Erin: I’m Erin Wilson, and this is a special bonus episode of Love Anyway, a podcast by Preemptive Love. We’ll be back next week with our last regularly scheduled episode of season four. But this conversation is too important to wait… 

Music

Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, was jogging in a southern Georgia neighborhood on February 23 when he was chased, gunned down, and killed by two white men. Only after a graphic video of his killing was recently posted online, and a wave of public outcry followed did authorities move to press criminal charges, more than two months after he was shot.

This story is all too familiar—and all too common. Men and boys losing their lives, for no other reason than that they are Black. Trayvon Martin. Tamir Rice. Philando Castille are a few names you might recognize…though there are countless more. And now there’s another.   

Ahmaud Arbery.

So we’re asking: What do we do in this moment? How do we respond? Can we possibly hope to end violence somewhere else in the world if we do not confront the violence in our own communities… and in our own hearts?

For some of us, this is not an easy conversation to engage. We’d rather do anything than confront the fear and prejudice that still lurks all around—and maybe even in us. But for many of our neighbors, for many members of this community, this conversation is literally a matter of life or death.

For the past two episodes of the Love Anyway podcast, we sat down with Toni Collier. Toni leads our gathering program here at Preemptive Love, working to build the world’s most diverse community of peacemakers on the planet. 

You heard her quote Martin Luther King Jr., another Black man who was murdered, as inspiration for the peacemaking work that she leads. You heard her passionately lay out the case for gathering with those who are different from you to heal what’s tearing us apart.

But here’s something you might not know about Toni. She’s a Black woman married to a Black man in Georgia, the same state where Ahmaud was murdered. Both she and her husband Sam have been actively involved in helping faith leaders and justice organizations respond to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. And both have firsthand experience with the kind of white supremacy that resulted in his death.

Podcast producer Kayla Craig had a conversation with Toni’s husband, Sam Collier. They talked through what the killing of Ahmaud brought up for Sam. Just a note, this is a stripped-down conversation, with minimal editing. It’s important to us that you hear Sam’s voice.

Here is Kayla’s conversation with Sam.

Kayla: All right. Sam, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today.

So before we get started…I think of you as Toni’s husband, because I get to work with Toni. But the truth is, is that you really are doing a lot of amazing, incredible even peacemaking work on your end. So for our listeners who might not yet recognize your name, can you give us a little bit of a background into who you are before we kind of dive deeper into this conversation?

Sam: Toni is amazing. I’m proud to be her husband. And thought of in that way. 

For me, as it pertains to civil rights and kind of the history of that I was born, born, and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. So my dad had a barbershop down on Auburn Avenue. They call it Historic Auburn where the civil rights movement took place, right across the street from The King Center was the barbershop

The SCLC was right down the street, which was Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which is Dr. King’s only organization that he created. And then when he passed, Coretta Scott King started the King Center, as you know, in honor to him and his life. It’s where now both of the tombs sit above ground on the pool. Coretta Scott King and also Martin Luthur King, Jr. Dr. Bernice King, is now the CEO of the King Center. And she is a close friend and has been a mentor for a long time. 

And so I think just my connection to civil rights and to just understanding all of this, you know, started when I was really young. And the significance of where I grew up, didn’t kick in until I got into ministry full time

Erin: Sam got to know Andy Stanley, the pastor of North Point Community, a 40,000-member evangelical church north of Atlanta.

I’ve now been friends with Andy Stanley and a part of the NorthPoint culture and system, and as a voice, as a speaker, as a host, as quote-unquote I guess a “consultant or influence” for the last seven or eight years.

And out of that, started working with organizations like Orange, Orange conference, Orange curriculum; Vanderbloemen, which is one of the largest Christian staffing agencies. Done some work with Catalysts and all types of things. Got a new book coming out with Baker Publishing, called A Greater Story. It’s available for pre-order right now.

You know, I’d spent a lot of time working with majority-white organizations, helping them transition. And when I started, a lot of them were majority white, but now they’ve become much more diverse. So it’s been exciting to navigate that and to merge all the worlds together.

Kayla: Can you walk me through your experience when you–if you’re comfortable doing–so when you first heard about Ahmaud? And then just share a little bit about what that propelled in you, and in your soul, to do and to bring others in with you.

Sam: I’m trying to remember where I was when I first heard about Ahmaud. I think I was laying down, at my house and, and I’ll be honest with you I did not take it super seriously at first.

Partially because it’s become so common, these stories. So for me, I just said, you know, I’ll check back in with it tomorrow and see what’s going on. And, you know, then it started getting bigger and bigger. And I said, “Okay, I gotta go watch this video.”

I watched the video probably 10 to 20 times…

Kayla:  Oh, my goodness! 

Sam: Yeah, I just had, I had to because for me, because I’m in the justice space and because I spend so much of my time consulting leaders, white and black, how to think through it. And obviously me and Dr. Bernice King, MLK’s youngest daughter, we talk immediately after all of this stuff. So I watched about 10 to 20 times because I need to see every angle. I watched another angle, I watched another angle. Then I read a bunch of articles. Then I had a lot of leaders calling me that were informing me on articles that they read, and they read, and they read, and they read. And after I had fully digested what happened, then I said, “Okay, [sigh] here we go.”

So I have to be really informed on what’s happening. And because we’ve seen so many unarmed black kids, teens, adults be shot over the last couple of years and this has been such a hot topic. The desensitization of these things has just set in, so I can watch it. You know, it’s like, alright, well…And I need to. Um, but, you know. I wish I could say it was new. 

It was just you know, horrific as all of these things are. But I really do feel like this moment specifically, will serve as a catalyst for a shift in America. On one hand, this is a moment in which there’s been so much education, I believe, over the last five to six years around this issue. And then all of these shootings, police brutality and all of that in America. And black people just, you know, minorities getting, you know, I use the word–this is not a word–madder and madder, you know, angrier and angrier and angrier and angrier. I think the nation has gone through with all, with each round. I think it was–this is a horrible term–but I think it was a perfect storm of a moment in which, now that you’ve been educated, now you have an opportunity to respond. criticism of the white evangelical space, the white moderates, the white Republicans, the criticism has been, you know, as Martin Luther King said, you know it was not the hatred of the racist that bothered him the most. It was the silence of the people that he thought was with him.

And so, that’s been the criticism, that white people, white moderates, white Republicans, even white democrats, who agree, have been silent. And so now I think over the years, we’ve been really just pushing at “Hey, let’s get excited about it”. I mean, excited in terms of let’s get loud about this. Let’s talk about this. Let’s be, you know, bold. I think now this is a perfect moment in which, over the years, it’s like okay, now we have a big one. This is clear. Where are you? 

So I think the education is the first reason.

I think the second reason, and this is what most people won’t like, is that there was not an officer involved. And so I’ll dive a little bit deeper on that.

Usually, as I’ve done talks on race around America, specifically around police brutality, specifically around unarmed black man, specifically around all things, the people that get up and walk out of the churches or the organizations are predominantly law enforcement. So let’s say you take an audience of about 100%, about 90% stay with you through the hard conversation. About 10% will get up and walk out. And about 80% of the 10% is law enforcement. They do not like these topics.

And I understand you know, their angle, I get it. They’re like “You’re not a police officer. You don’t know what it’s like to be in the field. You don’t know, you know, what he was going through. And for some, you don’t know what it’s like in the hood.” Right? And they just feel attacked. They’re like, you know, we feel attacked. Like why would you come after us? And a large part of this, and let me go ahead and say it, there are some great officers out there. We know, that there are some officers that are not good, is something that has been very difficult. But I think the understanding and the realization and the acceptance of, the police force to deal with. Even though we know that historically, It is true. That, in fact, you know, the origin of law enforcement was rooted in slavery. And they were created to discipline slaves. And so we know that there’s a history of racism within the law, within the law enforcement community. But yet, today, it’s very difficult for many of them to embrace that there are some bad apples in the bunch. 

So I want to say again, because law enforcement is always a hot topic, I want to say again, there are great officers out there. There are phenomenal officers. But there are also some bad apples in the bunch. 

With that being said, law enforcement really pushed back really hard in America around these issues. And, it’s really difficult for a lot of white leaders and a lot of white spaces to make officers feel bad. Right? I mean, it’s something that really challenges them. Because for them, they have been taught that officers were created to protect them. 

Kayla: Right.

Sam: And so with that, it’s like wait, you want me to go against the very people like, they’ve not done anything wrong to us—they protected us. While on the flip side, you know, African Americans have been taught a little bit different.

And so it’s been very difficult because the law enforcement was not involved on this one. This was an ex-cop that was involved in this situation–he was not a current cop–I believe white people, especially white leaders, really felt compelled that “oh, I can speak up more, you know, I’m not gonna get penalized as much.”

There’s a ton of allies, if you will, within Preemptive Love, that are from the opposite race. So kudos to that. 

But I think I think a ton of white people have been just trying to figure out, when to, they want to be loud, but how can we be loud without, with the least amount of resistance? And so I think it was just, I think it was a perfect storm. And I hate to say that because this was a tragedy. But in terms of the opportunity to speak up, I think this was one. So, that was a really long answer to the question.

Kayla:  I’m really, really glad you shared that. Thank you so much. I am a white woman who is raising a black son. I’ve never shared that on the podcast. But I have two black children through adoption. And I thought, “Okay, I get this. I went to college, I took classes on race.” 

My ignorance knew no bounds when I entered into adoption, even if I had done my homework and taken the classes. 

Now my heart feels like it could shatter into a million pieces when my son rides his bike. And knowing that as he gets older, there are conversations that I’m going to have to have with him about my complicity, complicity in a system that benefits me because of my white skin, and vilifies him, and hurts him, and suppresses him, and you know, even eventually could kill him. 

Sam: Yeah.

Kayla:  And you know, that’s just something that I am learning and lamenting with you, and learning from you. And I just thank you for you know, the emotional energy and labor that you are putting into this, especially going the next step to bring along people who don’t look like you, people who are benefiting from the system–white people–to bring them with you, to guide them. 

Sam: Many white leaders will ask me, you know, what can I do to help? Right, once it clicks in their minds, there’s a problem. And that, you know, this whole idea of white privilege, which white people hate this term, hate the term white privilege. And I understand why, for them, it seems like you’re taking away their hard work and their struggle. But we’re actually saying something different. 

So I’ve actually renamed it “white opportunity” so that people can really understand what I’m saying is like, no, what we’re simply saying is you have greater opportunity because you’re white. Because of how America was created.

So with that being said, when leaders really embrace it, white leaders and they ask me, what can we do to help? I say, Well, you know, the best thing you can do is leverage your opportunity, your privilege, to uplift the black race. 

That’s the best thing you can do, put us in position to create wealth. Put us in position to create influence. Put us in position to move a little bit differently and faster.

Sam:  When we talk about this idea of racial justice, you know, I sit in a space that’s in the middle. It’s a very hard space to sit in. But you need people, and what people many people don’t understand is that Dr. King sat in the middle. 

Dr. King had influence with the government and with the president and with people that made laws that were on one side and he also had influence in the black context. And he was able to stand in the middle and create a bridge so that we could actually get some things done. 

I always say in every movement, you have three things, you’ve got agitators, you’ve got negotiators you’ve got reconcilers. And usually, the three of them don’t like each other. They don’t like each other. 

Kayla:  So which one are you?

Sam: I’ll say this—Dr. King was all three. And so I try to be all three. I think in this day and age, I land a little bit more on the negotiation side. Because I don’t think we have a lot of negotiators. I think we have a lot of peacemakers or people that “I don’t see color”, you know, I don’t “let’s just stop talking about it”. “Let’s just come together. Come on, come on, come on.”

You got a ton of agitators, who are like, “Man, but all y’all, you need to do” you know, and we just end up fighting all day. But you have very few people that sit in the middle and go “Alright, I hear you, and I hear both sides. And now let’s address this. And let’s let’s come to grips with this. Let’s understand what each other is saying, and create change.” And so I don’t stay in the negotiator seat. I do tend to live there for a while, and then I move over into action and reconcile and all these other things. But and every now that you have to agitate. I mean,in order to do it well in these spaces, you have to agitate.

You know, agitation just isn’t tweeting a crazy tweet, agitation is also sending a text message to a powerful leader challenging his belief system, behind closed doors and going “Hey, I think you need to dah dah dah.” 

Kayla: So what we say at Preemptive Love is we belong to each other. I think Toni has the shirt. You know, we love, we love this. I’m wondering what this statement brings up in you, in this time.

Sam:  “We belong to each other?”

Kayla:  Mhm.

Sam: Wow. I mean, what it means to me is the Dr. King quote, that we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny. 

And I can’t be who I’ll be into you are who you’ll be, you can’t be who you be until I am who I’ll be it. You know, “we belong to each other” means, I think it means that we were all created in the image of God and we were all created in connection as a humanity. 

The reason that there’s the reason that tension exists within race, and the reason why we’ve been able to progress, even from slavery to civil rights is that we know that there’s something wrong when we’re not connected. We know that. We don’t need a dictionary to tell us. We don’t need a school book to tell us. We don’t need a preacher to tell us. We don’t need a motivational speaker. We don’t need an activist. We know. All of us know that when we’re not together, something is off. Something is wrong. 

And it’s because we’ve been tied to one another. We’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to one single garment of destiny. It means our destinies are interlocked. That who we are supposed to be, it at the highest level, is found in connection and in unity with one another. And so when I often talk about diversity, I often say that God is, realized and seen at His fullest when we are one. Not when we’re separate, but when we’re one. When you have all races together, now we’re a complete picture of what God is. Because we’re pieces of Him and we’re matching His image.

Kayla: So one of our values at Preemptive Love is to press into pain. And it seems like you do that a lot. And it takes a lot of vulnerability. I’m wondering, for our listeners, specifically our listeners who are not a black man in America, if you could just share a story for your life. If, if you’re comfortable, about a time when you really experienced this. 

I mean, you have a resume, that is like 55 pages long. You are just an awesome human. But as we’ve seen, and as we kind of talked about at the top of this conversation, some people will only see you alone, you know, on a walk on a jog, just because of the color of your skin. And I wonder if there’s a story you would share with us if that ever happened to you in any way?

Sam: You know, you normalize your trauma, right? I think we as humans learn to normalize it, so that we can deal with it. And so that we can grow through it, right. I mean you, it can’t be traumatic forever. I mean obviously that’s what counselors, he or she helps you kind of transition through. 

But you know I think for so long, being black in America is you know, was who I am, is who I am. That you learn to deal with the pressures, and you learn to deal with the reality that you’re in, you accept it but then you also rise above it. 

Sam:  And you know, so you learn to live with being followed around in the grocery store, and being followed around in any store. You know, going into a small town, and at night wondering if, if you need to go back inside.

 I mean there’s there are certain parts of Georgia that I’m just, I’m just not comfortable in after a certain time. There are certain parts in Alabama I’m definitely not. I mean, there are pieces of Alabama that I will ride through. And I’m nervous the whole time. The entire time. I’m going “please don’t let me run out of gas in this city.” Right? 

Sam: It’s interesting that we’re talking about this because I don’t talk about this much. But, you know, these are I think behaviors are put in place. And so I don’t think I’m giving you one story. I may be giving you a million. 

These are stories that I’ve put in place, as a normal thing in my life to just protect me. As you know, accept the reality. These are probably things I’ll have to teach my son. Well, hopefully, hopefully, America’s better, much better and when we’ve better than we’re better than we were. And hopefully, it’s much better than when I have my son. 

But you know, these are things I put in place. Yeah, before I drive through certain cities as I travel, you know, I, I will not drive through certain cities without a full tank of gas. It’s just not happening. Especially at night. I’m going “I will not be caught on this side of the city at a certain time.” 

I mean, I’ve been pulled over. I’ve been profiled, I mean, I’ve been mean, all of that. You I think you just learn, you learn to to live with it. 

Now. I will say there was a very promising moment that I had. It was a moment after Trayvon Martin and all these police shootings, it was like it was maybe about a year or two or maybe three removed from the Trayvon Martin situation, and then we’ve had, you know, the Michael Fergusons and so on and so forth the shootings in South Carolina, in which law enforcement, you know, has been forced to really just look at systems, and and and find the bad apples that are in the bunch. 

And I got pulled over and I was coming from a certain city. And I know that they pulled me over because I was probably in driving a nicer car. I’m just, you know, black, and the police walked up, and I looked at him, he looked at me and he, I don’t know what happened, but when he got up to the car, he was the nicest he had ever been. I could tell.

I never experienced and I had never experienced a police officer that nice. All of my interactions with law enforcement, up until that point, had been very aggressive, or nerve-wracking, like “Lord, let me just, I just got to get out of here.” But this cop on this day, and I don’t know what it was, I have to believe that it was the result of all this that we were going through in America. But he walked up and you can tell he was intentionally showing me respect. And I think, attempting to change the narrative.

Kayla: Thank you for sharing that with us…I hope people hear that and just hold your stories. And, you know, we just appreciate those. So as our time is kind of winding down, I just wonder if you could talk to the people who are listening right now, people who want to make that step from peace-keeping into peace-making, what do you say to them in this moment? You know we have listeners from all around the world. We have Christians, we have Muslims, we have just a wide, beautiful variety of people and just coming together believing in the power of choosing to love anyway, I wonder if you just have a final word for our listeners today.

Sam:  Yeah, I would say the first principle of Kingian nonviolence, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., part of a six-step or six principle philosophy and then six steps to Kingian nonviolence. 

The first principle is nonviolence is a way for courageous people. Nonviolence is courageous. And the idea of nonviolence is that that you would not be violent towards others, you’d also not be violent towards yourself. So it’s rooted in this idea of love. But it’s a philosophy for peacemaking, that each and every one of us has to choose to be nonviolent in our lives, to be loving in our hearts. 

And a part of delivering love to a society across enemy lines requires a commitment to nonviolence. Because it isn’t love that gets in the way of us creating peace, right? It’s violence. 

And there are many forms of violence. There’s hatred, there’s bigotry, there’s discrimination. Right? There’s prejudice. All of those are forms of violence. There’s emotionalism you know, anger, all, all that those are forms of violence, not to mention war. 

So I think we have to be committed to nonviolence as a way of life, as a mentality. And we’re not. I think when people hear that they hear, I’m not going to be fighting people physically. No, nonviolence is more of a mindset and a mentality, and it’s rooted in love. In unconditional love. 

But also, nonviolence isn’t weak. It’s courageous. And so with that being said, I would say if you if you’re going to make peace in the world, if you’re going to love across enemy lines, if you’re going to reconcile, if you’re going to agitate for the purpose of negotiating, to get to the table, to ultimately reconcile as we solve the ills of the world and the evils of the world, then you have to be committed, you have to be courageous. 

And that means that things are going to be messy. Remaking the world is messy. And I think a lot of us expected not to be. And so because we have this expectation of remaking of the world being an unmessy process when things get messy, we get gone. 

And we have to be committed to persevere through the mess, which means we have to expect the conflict, we have to expect the perseverance and we have to expect the weight. And if you can be committed to fighting through the tension of, of every day and of the world and fighting through the tension of misunderstanding each other, and fighting through the tension of not wanting to forgive each other and loving anyway?

You can do this thing, but you got to be courageous. And you have to be committed to a lifestyle of consistent change and love and perseverance.

Kayla: Amen. Thank you

Toni: This is Toni Collier, the gathering director here at Preemptive Love. And I wanted to get on here and just wrap up our conversation today. Because I mean, something absolutely devastating happened in our world. I mean, if you’ve been scrolling on social media or reading the news, you have seen it. 

It didn’t happen yesterday or last week. It happened months ago. A man named Ahmaud Arbery was murdered in the middle of the day jogging through a neighborhood. And right now there are thousands of people, millions of people that are hurting, that are sad, that are fearful for their lives just because of the color of their skin. If you are a person has been directly impacted by this tragedy. We want to publicly say we are sorry. And we are standing with you. And we are standing with your family, with your children. And we are sorry. 

Now there are some people that are listening to this right now. And maybe you’re asking yourself the question, “what does this have to do with me? It’s not directly affecting my subgroup, my part of the world, my community, my ethnic group.” Well, here’s what we want to say to that: here at Preemptive Love, we believe that we belong to each other. We are all connected by one thing, and that’s our humanity. The pains that we share, no matter what they look like. So if you’re asking yourself the question, what does this have to do with me? 

Maybe you’ve taken a step further and you’ve asked yourself the question, What can I do to help? Well, we want to help you be a person that leans in into pain, even if you don’t experience the pain yourself. 

Number one, we want you to listen to people that are not like you. People that are experiencing pain and moments in history that may not directly impact you. What does listening look like in this context? Well, it looks like you leaving your biases in the parking lot, checking your beliefs and ideals and thoughts at the door. And listening for the purpose of understanding and validating emotion. 

Number two, we want you to try your best to understand what’s happening in our world, while honoring the dignity of those that are different from you, and those that are impacted by it. Maybe that means not sharing your thoughts that could be offensive. Maybe that means while you’re talking to a friend, in this case from the African American community, honoring who they are. 

Number three, we want you to understand the power of apology in moments like this. A lot of people may think, Well, what do I need to apologize for, or I didn’t do anything to harm this person, I didn’t pull the trigger. I wasn’t in that neighborhood when that man was murdered. Well, sometimes, we get to rise above what we’ve done personally, and take on the effects of people that may look and believe, like us who have caused the pain. Sometimes, it’s just about apologizing for how a person feels, and what they have experienced.

 And last, we want you to put your love into action. We don’t know what that looks like for you, and where you’re at right now. But it may be you sitting down with your family and watching the news about this, reading captions of hundreds of African American people who are hurting right now and just leaning and learning and watching and pressing in. Maybe for you. It’s reaching out to a person of color and apologizing and saying, I’m sorry. 

Maybe it’s posting on your social networks and saying I’m ignorant. I don’t understand, but I want to and I want to grow. I want to learn, I want to be a better peacemaker. Maybe it’s getting more information on how you can be a part of our Love Anyway gatherings or virtual workshops, where we’re meeting monthly with people from all over the world to learn and grow together. We’re putting the practical steps into place with accountability, and support. 

Whatever peacemaking looks like for you. We want to remind you, that peacemaking starts with you, and the actions that you take today, help to end the next war before it even begins. It helps to create the more beautiful world, our hearts desire. For us, for our children, and for the people that inhabit the world after us. If you want to be a part of our peace efforts today, right now, please text the words “teach me” to 72000 That’s “teach me” to the number 72000. 

Thank you for listening

END MUSIC

Erin:  Hard conversation. But these are the kinds of conversations we need to have in order to change our hearts, in order to change the world. If you’re a white listener, please don’t let anger be your highest response to injustice—it feels powerful, but in the long-term, it’s not very productive. We have the chance to listen, learn, and change. Until next time, I’m Erin Wilson, and this is Love Anyway, a podcast of Preemptive Love.

End credits:  Love Anyway is a podcast by Preemptive Love. It’s written and produced by Erin Wilson, Kayla Craig, and Ben Irwin. Skip Matheny is our digital production director. Sean Gabrielson is our audio editor. Jeremy Courtney, Jessica Courtney, and JR Pershall are executive producers. Our theme music is by Roman Candle.


Thanks for listening!

Don’t miss an episode. Subscribe now on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and Spotify.

Join our podcast mailing list

Give us your email and we'll send you episode notifications and developing updates on stories within.

We'll never share your email with anyone.

Next Episode

Love Anway

Unexpected Empathy: Finding Ourselves in Our Global Neighbors

What does empathy have to do with emergency aid? In this final episode of Season 4, Erin Wilson, podcast host and senior field editor, sits down with Jessica Courtney, Preemptive Love's vice president of international programs, for an honest look at what they've learned about themselves as they've cared for others.

What does empathy have to do with emergency aid? In this final episode of Season 4, Erin Wilson, podcast host and senior field editor, sits down with Jessica Courtney, Preemptive Love’s vice president of international programs, for an honest look at what they’ve learned about themselves as they’ve cared for others.