While reading the book “Promises for Graduates,” the following passages of scripture were included under the category of acceptance – “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes Me, and anyone who welcomes Me welcomes the One who sent Me. Whoever welcomes… And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is My disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
Thoughts began flooding my mind about how we accept and welcome each other. I thought about the negative images – sometimes portrayed in the media regarding the different races such as racial prejudice, profiling, not getting along with each other or simply not accepting one’s differences, etc. Then I thought what about the good that happens that is sometimes not told or even known, or is considered just not newsworthy.
I have been blessed to meet a lot of people over the years. One in particular is Katherine Williams, the great-granddaughter of JZ George of Carrollton. During our conversations, I informed her that my daughter would be attending Jackson State University. I recently received a call from her asking me to bring Tyra to meet her before she starts college. She said, “I want her to know me – just in case she has any trouble on her route to Jackson. I am near Interstate 55. All she has to do is call, and I will take care of her. Give her my cell number.” Then she said, “I also want your son, Taylor, to meet my grandson, Jamie. Jamie is a student at Mississippi State. They need to know each other.”
This is a testament that there are people of different races who get along, and accept one another, and look out for each other’s best interests. There are so many testimonies I could give about love and acceptance among different ethnicities. I could talk about those families and friends who have been an integral part of my life and have taken my family under their wings without thought about our race. One couple told me they pray for my family every day. Also, my friend, Sandi, has stood with me and my children through the many years of our friendship.
I share this to say – I am a witness that races can get along. I know there are problems and I am not naive to them. My late father-in-law, Rufus Floyd, sang a song “We Don’t Have No Time to Waste.” All of us can waste time by sharing stories of unacceptance, hate, racism, not getting along, stereotyping, unfairness, etc. My Mama always said, “Talk about the good.” So, I choose to focus on the positive aspects of life.
I was in a store in Belden and saw this elderly lady pay for her items and leave the store. About five minutes later, a couple walked in carrying a purse. They said, “We found this purse sitting in a buggy outside.” Ms. Jean Phillips came back into the store with a panicked look on her face, stating, “I lost my purse!” The clerk returned the purse to her. She said, “The Lord took care of me.” Another testament that all don’t steal – there are still honest people.
I ran into another friend who shared a story about her teenage daughter, Blair. Blair had made friends with another student who didn’t have any friends, and was bullied for not having a religion. It really bothered Blair that students who professed to be Christians were acting just the opposite. She included the student in conversations and as a young Christian, tried to help the student. Her belief was all students should be shown respect, regardless of their ethnicity or religion. The last week of school, Blair asked him if it would be okay to give him a Bible. He said, “I guess.” She gave him one on her last day of school. Another testament that people do care about one another – even young people.
If we love and accept one another – will it make a difference? Are you willing to welcome each other without thought of race, creed or religion? You be the judge.
Juanita Gambrell Floyd is vice president for finance and administration at CREATE Foundation. Contect her at firstname.lastname@example.org.