Meet Bella: a perfomance poet and student at Odyssey Community School. Like Martha and Liam from previous posts, Bella participated in SoulSpeak Asheville’s social justice poetry slam earlier this year, and we were pretty impressed with her piece (read it here, and watch her performance of it here).
In “Behind the Mirror,” Bella presents us with the idea that we have built our whole world around the perceptions of just one sense: sight. She says that humans caught one glimpse of themselves in the reflection in a puddle, and distorted this gift into something used to judge others. “We created monsters of ourselves through a puddle.” She says that where we went wrong was when we “forgot how to dive deeper.” We have taken this gift, given to us to see the beauty of our surroundings, and used it to categorize people. Bella says, “The organism of sight is not the problem. It’s the way that we have taken this gift and turned it into a way of discriminating against people about something they have no choice in. Yes, it is human nature to judge, and no, that does not make it okay.”
So what does this mean for social justice, especially from a Christian standpoint? If we have forgotten how to dive deeper, as Bella says, what it really means is that we’ve forgotten how to see one another as fellow children of God. When we forget that, it’s easy for us to place boundaries between one another based on appearances. It allows us to build walls between races, genders, social classes, economic statuses…the list goes on. Diving deeper we will find that scripture tells us we are made in the image of God, not in the image reflected back to us in the mirror. When we remember that, we are able to break down the boundaries we’ve built based on sight.
To hear more from Bella, check out our interview with her here! And for help discussing her piece with your youth group, check out the study guide we made!
If you’re as inspired by Bella’s work as we are, join YMCo in the conversation! Tell us what youth in your community is doing for justice, and we’ll feature them in the blog! Email us at email@example.com!