When Hope Begins to Hurt

An Open Letter to the Friends of Bishop Anderson House

By Rev. Dr. Ebony D. Only

Have you ever hoped for something so deeply that you did everything in your power to make it a reality?  You planned, you prayed, you positioned yourself to be in the right places and around the right people.  You took the necessary steps; you followed the process and all the rules and shared your hopes and dreams with those you were certain could help.  Yet after all you had done and all that you invested, you found yourself coming up empty handed again.  You had hopes for the job and after four rounds of interviews that you thought went well, they passed on you.  You had a string of awful dates and failed relationships and began to think you would never find your true love.  You repeatedly shared with your partner your desires for them and your relationship and even after they promised to make improvements or changes, they did not.  It left you feeling hopeless and hurt.

Now imagine experiencing this hopelessness not just time after time, but generation after generation.  Imagine having confidence that this time will be different and it was not.  Imagine expecting this time you would be seen and heard and you were not.  Imagine believing surely this time someone will be held accountable and after years of waiting, they were not.  Imagine thinking this time you will be believed, this time you will be affirmed and you were not.  Imagine anticipating this time you will be seen as a whole person with equal access and equal rights, but time after time, generation after generation you are proven wrong by word and deed.  This is what it is like for a Black person living in America today and that is why until #BlackLivesMatter in word and deed, All Lives can’t Matter.

The Black community has endured generational trauma for over 400 years and not only have these traumas gone unaddressed, they often are not acknowledged.   As a healer and caregiver, it is my duty to acknowledge the trauma and identify ways in which I can influence and bring about change.  When I considered whether there was an opportunity to do just that in the context of my service to Bishop Anderson House, I recalled Bishop Anderson’s vision that “the church be a transformer of society, an agent of change and healing in a culture where the institutions of humanity fall short of our dreams for a better world”.

Alumni, donors and friends, now is the time!  We were called for such a time as this to be transformers and agents of change and healing in communities that are crying out for transformation and restoration.  We are called as healers and caregivers to unite in dismantling disparities and mitigating unconscious biases in healthcare.  While I cannot define for you in your individual contexts how you might influence change or what specific actions you can take, I pray this heartfelt note will encourage you to take some time to reflect and to consider how you can be the change needed and how you can make an impact so that All Lives can indeed Matter!

I pray that you will join us in living out the Social Responsibility Statement for Racial Justice adopted by the Board of Trustees of Bishop Anderson House.  My prayer is that you are registered in will vote in the upcoming election.  My prayer is that you will take the census and be counted, but most of all my prayer is that you will use your voice to call out injustice whenever and wherever you see it.