Why Frances Twiggs chose to participate in the Living Into Inclusivity dialogues
When I watched the video of Mr. George Floyd being killed, I wept. I wept for Mr. Floyd. I wept for the man so devoid of human compassion his eyes were blind and his ears were stopped as he crushed the breath out of the man underneath him. I wept for the country. I wept for myself.
I have spent most of my life learning about my white privilege. I was born in Upper East Tennessee, a onetime stronghold of the KKK. My mother, a transplanted English woman who had served in the British Army during WWII, was horrified that such an organization not only existed, but was embraced by our community and many of the churches in it. During the summers in the 1960’s, we would see yellow school buses carrying members of the KKK to the state park just down the road from us where they would burn their cross and hold their rally. My father was an American who also served during WWII which is how he met my mother. His heritage connects me directly to the privilege I have as his family were Southerners from Georgia and South Carolina and had a plantation. My great, great Grandfather was in the SC Calvary during the Civil War. My mother, being who she was, made a point of teaching me, and my four older siblings, about our history and where we came from and our obligation to speak against racism and white supremacy wherever we encountered it.
This is what I have tried to do, though I admit to feeling as though I’ve not tried hard enough. It is easy to disappear into the comfortable bubble of privilege. That bubble was once again popped, as it has been over and over throughout the years. From Emmett Till, killed five years before I was born, to Mr. George Floyd.
When this opportunity arose to connect with others within Wenatchee, explore our stories of white privilege and discover where the journey would take us, I was relieved and a little apprehensive to join. I say relieved because of the sense of helplessness I have been feeling through all of the unrest brought about by the pandemic and the ongoing racial injustice that plagues our country. It is a comfort to have companions alongside. I say apprehensive because it is challenging to do this work in full view of the larger community.
Our group is a mixed one to the extent we can be mixed as white people. Though we have each made an individual decision to make this journey together, I believe we will find that we have differences in our experiences of white privilege as well as our understanding of it. It is our hope that we will hear each other’s differences and find common ground upon which we can stand together. We hope to join with others in Wenatchee who are also currently engaging in this conversation as well as inspire and encourage others to begin their own.
The Rev. Frances Twiggs, Rector
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church