Faith of a Mustard Seed

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

The question of faith in Romans for Paul takes on a very fervent discourse concerning Justice = Righteousness. It must be clear that his use of ‘dikaiosune’ in Romans IS the Thesis of this book. As so with Isaiah, Amos, Micah and the most powerful Prophetic voices: Justice IS that “Thing” that requires Service. So High… you can’t get over it. So Wide… you can’t get around it!

For Black History this Month, I am seeking the Black American Voice that is high and lifted up; even in the “valley of the shadows of death”; FEARING NO EVIL! I find that voice today in Michelle Alexander.

I am not quite sure how people can even say “she thinks she knows everything”; or “she can do everything”; for in my thinking there is no such thing. I believe that “Knowledge is Power” and in many, many instances “Knowing” IS the only difference between Good and evil. When I pray the Corporate Prayer in Worship, I always, always pray that those children and youth present will be granted ‘Power and Authority over Knowledge’.

I came into the knowledge of Michelle Alexander on Facebook. A Post came through my Feed linking to a “Ted Talk” which she gave. I listened and was blown away. The tears began to flow as I heard this “Voice crying out in the Wilderness…”; … for such a Time as This!

Stopping off in Nashville to earn her Undergraduate Degree from Vanderbilt, Michelle Alexander received her Law Degree from Stanford. Among numerous life achievements, she Directed the Civil Rights Clinic at Stanford Law School; and as Director of the Racial Justice Project at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, she spearheaded a national campaign against racial profiling by law enforcement. Her work with the ACLU lit the fire of enlightenment that our nation’s criminal justice system functions more like a caste system than a system of crime prevention or control.

She published “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” in 2010; and the following year the book won the 2011 NAACP Image Award for Best Nonfiction. By year’s end of 2012 it had been on the The New York Times Best Seller list for 35 weeks and reached #1 on the Washington Post best seller list.

“Today there are more African-Americans under correctional control —in prison or jail, on probation or parole —than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. …In major American cities today, more than half of working-age African-American men are either under correctional control or branded felons and are thus subject to legalized discrimination for the rest of their lives.”

“People are swept into the criminal justice system —particularly in poor communities of color —at very early ages … typically for fairly minor, nonviolent crimes. … Young black males are shuttled into prisons, branded as criminals and felons, …when they’re released, they’re relegated to a permanent second-class status, stripped of the very rights supposedly won in the civil rights movement —the right to vote, the right to serve on juries, the right to be free of legal discrimination and employment, and access to education and public benefits. Old forms of discrimination that we supposedly left behind during the Jim Crow era are suddenly legal again, once you’ve been branded a felon.”

She addresses ‘The War On Drugs’: “Federal funding has flowed to state and local law enforcement agencies who boost the sheer numbers of drug arrests. …rewarded in cash for the sheer numbers for drug offenses, thus giving law enforcement agencies an incentive to go out and look for the so-called ‘low-hanging fruit’: stopping, frisking, searching as many people as possible, pulling over as many cars as possible, in order to boost their numbers up and ensure the funding stream will continue or increase.”

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