Well, we have officially arrived at the last week of classes, which also means we have come to the last column that I will write for the Chronicle. And as the school year closes out, I can’t help but notice that the world finds itself in almost exactly the same position that it was in when I decided to take up writing this column.
We are still in the midst of the pandemic.
We continue to see the lives of Black and Brown people senselessly and continuously cut short.
And we continue to see the creation of chasmic difference as the church struggles to find how to exist as a Christ-like institution in an inequitable world.
When I began writing my column I was under no preconceived notions that my column would single-handedly be able to fix any of those things. In fact, I was not sure that anyone beyond my close family and friends would even know that my column existed.
But as the year has continued on I have felt that on some small level words do matter, and that even if only on a small level, pushing back against institutions when they are in the wrong can make a difference.
So as I prepare to leave you all with one of the last sets of words I will write here as a Duke undergraduate, it only seemed fitting that offer my hopes and wishes, not just for those who read my column but for the institutions I have so often critiqued this year.
For those of you who have come on this journey with me and regularly read my column, I wish for you communities and institutions that are open and affirming, that recognize the humanity of each person that finds themselves inhabiting or working in those spaces. I wish you the strength to challenge spaces that are not, to demand equity not only for yourselves but for those who will come after you. Yet I also wish you the wisdom to know when to rest, when to grieve and when to lean on your community to help you raise your voice.
For the academy, most especially Duke, I wish you the fortitude to challenge white privilege through listening to your BIPOC students, staff and faculty: the fortitude to truly heed their calls for change and be willing to make it, not just to quiet the noise, but because it is the right thing to do. I also wish you clarity, the clarity to see when policies are discriminatory and know that it is okay to change them.
For the Church, I wish you the heart and understanding of Christ. That you may understand your charge is not to condemn but stand with doors, arms and hearts open, welcoming any and everyone. I wish you radical love, a love that learns to stand in the margins rather than stand with those who oppress and silence the marginalized. And I wish you the ability to walk humbly, to know that you may not get right the first time, to contend with the brutal history of Christianity and to accept it while working to change it for the present and future.
Finally for our nation as a whole, I wish us Black Girl Magic and Black Boy joy; I wish us the ability to see these things for what they are—beautiful, full of life and ready to change the world. I wish us police abolition and gun reform, universal healthcare and equitable education. I wish us radical acceptance of one another, that perhaps one day we will be able to look at one another and offer love and acceptance, instead of judgment and prejudice.
I know this column of wishes is untraditional, but as a person of faith, I like to think that wishes are in some ways a similar way of prayer. And with that in mind, beloved, the only things left to do are wish for the protection and joy of each and every one of you, and to close this column out with the only way I know how by saying,
Let the church say
Tatayana Richardson is a graduating Trinity senior who is so thankful for having the opportunity to write for The Chronicle this year, and who wants to offer a huge shout to her AMAZING editor Margot Armbruster, and thank her awesome readers for going on this journey with her this year.
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