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Modern Day, Mississippi Burning

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Shulanda J. Hastings

Ambassador Shulanda

Ambassador Shulanda

Shulanda J. Hastings is an inspirational writer, Christian counselor and an ambassador to the faith-based community; helping them break mental health barriers. She is the author of the Beauty of My Thorns novel series and of the memoirs, Keeping My Faith While Saving My Mind.

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Before you start reading this post, I should probably give you a disclaimer:
This is an extensive blog post. The content of this blog post does not literally support the blog post’s title.

As I started my day this morning; had my devotional, made a cup of tea and turned on the television to watch a national news station, unsurprisingly, I didn’t hear one positive story. Although the news was not good news, it was relevant to say the least.

As I type this post, thousands are headed to Washington to protest about all the injustice murders that have occurred. These tragic events have provoked diverse opinions, emotions and even actions. But regardless of the different perspectives, the significant key is that conversations are happening among all races, ages and communities.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. -MLK

As I prepare to head to my native state, Mississippi, to be apart of an event to celebrate southern authors, my heart is present in another portion of Mississippi not far from my hometown called, Courtland, located in Panola County. Family and friends are preparing for the funeral of a 19 year old female, Jessica Chambers. Jessica has made the national news this morning due to the manner in which she died. She didn’t die from natural causes. She wasn’t the victim of a DUI. She did not commit suicide. So why is a 19 year old teen being buried today?

A MISSISSIPPI BURNING

Jessica was found burning alive in her car! And as if that alone was not brutal enough, she was also tortured. Some heartless person(s) apparently poured gasoline down her throat. Can you imagine yourself or even your daughter, your child spending their last moments of life in such an agonizing way? It is definitely a death, a murder that one would not imagine occurring in 2014. But without a doubt, it did occur. It did happen in this modern day time and in a land that has been a part of my life since birth, in Mississippi.

INJUSTICE

Since I first heard the news of Jessica’s death a week ago, I have been pondering over the same questions that I’m certain her family has asked repeatedly: Who could have done something like this? Why would someone do something like this? Will justice happen for Jessica?

As I listened to four African-American mothers on the news this morning discuss the pain over losing their children to what they feel was a tragic and injustice act, the thoughts and emotions that made me write my last post, “How To Get Away With Murder”, came flooding back. You see, Mississippi burnings are symbolically associated with the murders that occurred during Civil Rights Movement against Black people. And even though the justified protests that are going on today to bring justice to four Black males, change the state of relationships among law enforcement and black communities and eradicate the seemingly disrespect for black lives; Guess what? Jessica was not Black.

ALL LIVES MATTER

I can’t even imagine being in the shoes of Jessica’s parents right now. No one deserves to have their life taken. Jessica’s death has affected many people, but for those that love and cherish Mississippi as myself, it is so unreal that Mississippi is getting such negative connotations. Although born in the same city, Clarksdale, Mississippi, I didn’t know Jessica and do not know her family, but they should know that many are supporting them today as they endeavor to celebrate the life of their daughter, their baby girl. My prayers have been lifted on their behalf and I will continue to pray for their strength and eventually their healing. Right now, it probably feels like a hole is burning in their hearts. The rest of us can only feel the sting of that impact. I pray justice is received for Jessica.

Despite the negative news going on in the world and the negativity attached to Mississippi, it is my hope that Mississippi will burn from the north, down in the Delta and on the coast. It is my hope that my Mississippi will burn with LOVE! We can make it happen.

“It’s not just about African American rights. It’s about human rights” (Sybrina Fulton)


2 Comments

  1. gwwministry says:

    My prayers are with the family! I too pray that we will burn with love and not hate! 🙏

    Like

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