Sankofa Reflection 2022: Aware of the Past to Transform the Future
The Sankofa trip through Transform Minnesota was like no other. It reminds me of how when you live a life that strives for growth it will often look like this trip; being made aware of past problems so we can transform and be intentional about the future. Some of the parts that impacted and challenged me the most were going to the Legacy Museum with Equal Justice Initiative and the Emmett Till Interpretive Center. The Legacy Museum gave such an amazing overview of information that really walks you through and opens your eyes to how systemic racism looks from the beginning of slave trade to now. When the timeline ended with George Floyd my heart sank. To see this historical timeline, leading all the way up to my home city and state really brought things to a new level for me. The horror that we all feel looking at the past and how racist systems prevailed is how the future generations from all over will feel when they look at textbooks that show George Floyd and Minneapolis. It’s a reminder of the work that needs to be done.
As a half Black and half white mixed person, I possibly would not have existed in small-town Mississippi, even to this day.
The Emmett Till Interpretive Center was very impactful as well. The history by itself really moved me to tears but the part that scared me the most was speaking to the people who run the center. The aunt and niece we met told us about life in small-town Mississippi right now. There are still segregated proms and places where it could take three weeks to get electricity back if yours goes out. It really awakened me to the realities of what people are still going through and how blessed I am to have grown up in Minneapolis. As a half Black and half white mixed person, I possibly would not have existed in small-town Mississippi, even to this day.
This trip overall brought a lot more understanding, it impacted the way I view my own racial identity…
Overall, this trip really gave me an appreciation for where and how I grew up. As a mixed person this trip gave me a deeper appreciation for my community, my parents, and all those who have gone before me to make it even possible for me to be in existence. I’m such a beautiful reminder of where we were and where we have come from. In the past to be my color would be a product of rape, me being alive would be a constant reminder of infidelity, lust and used goods and now I am a symbol of generations of people fighting for freedom, understanding, and most of all love. This trip overall brought a lot more understanding, it impacted the way I view my own racial identity and those around me and it showed me more areas where we still have room to grow and bring God’s light. At the end of it all I have a lot of hope and can more clearly see how God has done and is continuing to do a great work. The harvest is plenty and the workers are few but this trip I think helps better equip and call to action more workers for God’s plans.
Samantha Willis is a 25-year-old mixed woman of God. She graduated from Bethel University and is currently ministering in Minneapolis and at the House Church in Eagan.