Apr. 7—Anderson's local Be The Bridge group is an example of a necessary method of social change, beginning right at the person-to-person level.
Based on the book "Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation" by LaTasha Morrison, the group's primary focus is on building authentic relationships to close the gap in the racial divide in America.
This is an important step toward systemic racism, which is easy to miss when it does not directly impact your life experience.
Member Annie Wood-Bell clearly described what the group is and what it is not.
"We're not here to discuss does racism or systemic racism exist. ... It really is an intentional group of people that wants to do anti-racist work."
As racist ideologies continue to flourish, it isn't enough to be non-racist. One ought to commit to being intentionally anti-racist.
When it comes to systemic racism, it is all the more important to listen to the experiences of others.
It is easy to minimize the impact of racism when one is not directly affected by it. That's why it's necessary to attempt to walk in the shoes of another person and feel what they experience each day.
Group co-founder Mariann Strozier said, "Madison County is too small to be that segregated."
Although we wish that were true, recent issues have highlighted a stark divide.
Last summer, we saw Black Lives Matter protests met by armed counterprotesters. There is also some lively discussion at Anderson Community Schools board meetings concerning diversity and sensitivity to issues affecting persons of color.
How differently might these issues play out if those involved were committed to listening and understanding what the Black community is fighting for?
Groups like Be The Bridge may be an important part of that understanding in the future.