White Southerners, our souls are at stake. We must speak up now

Arc of moral universe

Martin Luther King’s Memorial displaying one of his quotes. The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles to refute racism

By Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams, who is a retired pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has served as a trustee for the Presbyterian Church Foundation, Agnes Scott College and Columbia Theological Seminary. She is one of the founders of Higher Ground, an interfaith group in Atlanta. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. Read more opinion on CNN.

(CNN) Two bullets in the back of Rayshard Brooks. His crime? Falling asleep in a long Wendy’s pickup line in Atlanta. Drunk. Offered to walk to his sister’s nearby home. No. Officers talked to him for half an hour. Then went after him with their guns when he tried to escape, waving a Taser he had grabbed from one of the officers.

“Got him,” one of them said as Rayshard fell to the asphalt. Sounded like hunters hunkered in a duck blind whose marksmanship had resulted in a kill. “Got him.”

Ahmaud Arbery shot down on a suburban street in Glynn County. His crime? Being Black in a place where the color of his skin turned out to be a capital offense. The three White men who had chased him for blocks stood over his body, allegedly using the n— word, clearly satisfied with the success of their mission. They had gotten Arbery for sure.

I have lived in Atlanta — where Brooks was killed — for 58 years. These days, I spend a lot of time in southern Georgia, near the place where Arbery died. The Golden Isles, where red fish are there for the taking from the waters of the Satilla River — Satilla Shores is the neighborhood where the shotgun blast ripped his body apart.

Southern is what I am through and through. I am also as White as a White person can be. When I traced my genealogy, I discovered that every single one of my ancestors many centuries back was from the British Isles, with a couple of Germans thrown in for diversity’s sake. I am aware that all of us homo sapiens can trace our beginnings to Africa, but most White people couldn’t care less.

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