While 2020 was a tough year, 2021 is not looking much better, especially among L.A.’s Black and Brown people.
The pandemic continues to ravage those communities, gentrification is driving many from traditional minority neighborhoods and economic improvements have yet to reach these groups. In addition, racial unrest is increasing across the nation and politically, the country is more divided than ever.
In the midst of so many troubling issues, the question arises, “What do we have to be thankful for as we prepare to observe Thanksgiving Day?” The Sentinel contacted three local ministers for their insight and response.
“Despite the many social, political, economic, and health challenges facing us today, Black Americans should be thankful because we know a God who has proven that He can and will bring us through the worst of trials,” insisted Pastor Walter R. Tucker III of Truth and Love Christian Church in Carson.
“We are a strong people, a resilient people; a people of deep faith, hope, and love. We know that what the enemy brings for evil, God turns into good! Thank God for Jesus Christ!”
Offering similar encouragement, the Rev. Carolyn Baskin-Bell stressed, “The pandemics of the health, racial, social, economic and political arenas are not able to separate us from the love of Christ. In the midst of conflict and confusion, we stand with gratitude for the mercy that flows from God.”
Baskin-Bell, who is the pastor of First AME Church in Santa Monica, noted that God’s love and mercy “sustained our ancestors who modeled strategies of mobilization in order to survive systems of oppression that continue to plague the world today.” Advising people to be comforted by Romans 8:37-38, she added, “We press forward with faith and grateful hearts because we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ.”
The many accomplishments by African Americans, in the face of crushing odds, is another reason express thanks to God, said the Rev. Dr. Ken Walden, pastor of Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.
“God has always allowed Black Americans to rise above obstacles such as COVID-19, racial unrest, and political divides. God has remained faithful and allowed Black Americans to not only survive but also thrive amid a variety of challenges,” he asserted.
“Considering the past and present obstacles – it is no less than a miracle that Black Americans have obtained over 100 Historical Black Colleges and Universities, historical Black hospitals and medical facilities, Black politicians on the local, state level, and national levels, Black churches maintaining a role of influential leadership and service, and many other achievements in the face of opposition,” Walden said.
Elder Aquyla Walker, the young adult overseer at Greater Zion Church Family in Compton, summed up the appropriateness of being thankful and making that attitude a habit in life.
“Gratitude helps to shift a mindset! Gratitude is a conscious decision to know that injustices & disappointment exists, but to consider the other things that counter them,” explained Walker.
“Life presents us the opportunity to give thanks in ALL things…to see that the God in things or at least to see that God is working in all things!”