Today I Am Wise￼
It is Thursday. I consciously scan my closet for something black. Slipping into my black dress feels like putting on a cloak of solidarity. A connection point that runs between me, those experiencing gender-based violence, and other supportive siblings.
“I found, that intentionally donning black on a Thursday caused me to pause for a moment and consider my siblings struggling in situations of violence. To pray with them.”Beth Guy
While I have known about the Thursdays in Black campaign for several years and practiced it in brief spurts, I more intentionally began engaging with it while attending the World Council of Churches Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany. We were there over the course of two Thursdays, and, as Thursdays in Black began as a WCC campaign, many wore the color in solidarity. Seeing everyone in their black told a beautiful visual story of each person’s hope, prayer, and desire for a world without gender-based violence.
Upon returning home, I found myself still wearing black on Thursdays, even if it was a work-from-home day when no one would see me. I found, that intentionally donning black on a Thursday caused me to pause for a moment and consider my siblings struggling in situations of violence. To pray with them. To imagine a better, healthier world for and with them. In this process, I was being changed and moved with each passing Thursday.
In the past, I had always thought of Thursdays in Black as an outward campaign to help others understand the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence. I think it certainly can be that, especially as people educate others and share more about their participation in the campaign. However, as I have been learning, I think it’s not just about communal transformation, but also personal transformation.
I think I had always jumped past the personal transformation piece and went straight to the communal transformation – not stopping to see what parts of myself needed to shift in awareness and solidarity. But the personal transformation is so very important. The personal transformation helps to fuel and more passionately engage the communal transformation.I found, that intentionally donning black on a Thursday caused me to pause for a moment and consider my siblings struggling in situations of violence. To pray with them.
If you’re reading this, I would invite you to participate in the Thursdays in Black campaign and consider your “why.” Why are you participating in this campaign? Why does a world without sexual and gender-based violence matter to you? What would a world without sexual and gender-based violence look like? How can you share in solidarity and hope each Thursday?
As the quote often attributed to the poet Rumi states, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
Be changed, dear ones. And may your inner change ripple forth to change the world.
Bethany Guy serves as the Director of Communications for Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ.