There are grassroots efforts in local communities across the country advocating for alternatives to policing

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It was overwhelming to learn of yet another young Black man, Daunte Wright, being killed by police earlier this week. God rest his soul and comfort his loved ones and spur us on to grieve and to act.

Sometimes it feels impossible to change the systems that perpetuate these murders again and again, or so we think and so we’re told. The horrors just get repeated while excuses (“it’s more complicated than that” or “he resisted arrest”…) bury the evidence of a pattern, and we all seem to stand there helpless in the face of it.

But wouldn’t you know…

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I pulled my kitchen chair over to the window this morning to inch closer to the rising sun, the early chatter of the birds, the soft yet vibrant pastels of the spring leaves’ first exposure to the world.

My body aches and my brain is filled with the dull pain of a fog. Just yesterday I entrusted my body yet again to the brilliant science of a solution to our planet’s global pandemic. Though this vaccine can make the body temporarily sick, it is a small price to pay to keep myself and others safe and healthy.

A man I…

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I remember learning early in my social work career that trauma can’t be fully processed and integrated into the interconnected web of our memories until we have gained some sense of safety and consistency in our lives.

I was in my early twenties, a case manager for unaccompanied refugee youth. Now in a new context where they weren’t wondering where their next meal was going to come from, or whether or not this new acquaintance was a friend or foe, many of my clients had just begun navigating the foreign experience of daily safety and security. …

“God has also set eternity in the human heart” (from Ecclesiates 3:11); and this, my loves, is on purpose.

As a woman growing up in a culture that told me that my interpretations of reality and my big emotions were not to be trusted, I have always believed my feelings to be “too much” and thus mistaken and dismissable.

Though I know that big feelings are not exclusive to women (we’ve all seen our fair share of male temper tantrums that are often viewed as demonstrations of strength and passion), in a patriarchal and misogynistic world, I as a woman…

Visiting a migrant processing center in Ciudad Juarez with Pastor Samuel and his wife Zeny, April 2019

“Sí es cierto lo que dices Melissa… yes, it’s certain what you say,” he says to me in a WhatsApp voice message, “The LGBTQ community is even more vulnerable [than other migrants].”

Pastor Samuel sighs with a weariness in his voice, messaging me from his home in Ciudad Juarez after a long day out in his truck bringing food and blankets to asylum-seekers.

Samuel and I met nearly two years ago when I went on a faith leader delegation trip to the border and I took an extra day to be able to see his church’s ministry to asylum-seekers. …

I’m a mess of emotions, and I would imagine you are, too

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I have so many feelings these days.

Between the noise of the election (very real here in Michigan), another winter season of COVID19 setting in (again, very real here in Michigan), the unrelenting violence of racism in the US, and a recent unexpected break-up, I have been riding the most intense waves of emotion that feel so unbearable at times I find myself looking forward to just being asleep so I can be in a neutral state for some hours (Do you feel this way, too? It’s called depression. Please seek some help).

It reminds me of how I felt…

In this moment in history, the white church has a decision to make: whether or not we will choose to walk in the truth. We are rightfully — and belatedly — at a fork in the road, and we must decide whether we will deny ourselves to follow Christ or deny our Christ to follow our distorted view of ourselves.

Allow me to tell you a story to demonstrate both the confession and decision that must be made.

I laid flat on my back on the carpeted classroom floor between two of my graduate school classmates. Lined side-by-side across…

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As I listened to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s speech on the House floor about personal privilege and gender-based aggression, I thought of my own stories and experiences, as I’m sure most women did.

These stories are countless, and they range from overt aggression to covert niceties.

I could tell you the stories of overt sexism… the story about standing on the metro platform when living in DC, yards away from a woman who was being sexually harassed by a stranger, me locking eyes with her and motioning for her to come stand by me, and riding the metro together to keep each…

As has been the pattern since his campaign trail, President Trump has behaved towards the immigrant community as a narcissistic perpetrator of abuse, utilizing harmful and predictable tactics to maintain power and control.

This cycle of abuse has become all the more obvious in the Coronavirus crisis. In one moment, immigrants are asked to come be our doctors and are deemed “essential workers” by the federal government (the honeymoon phase of the abuse cycle). The next moment, they are denied the provision of stimulus checks and told in a tweet that the entire system for processing their ability to be…

I don’t know about you all, but I’ve been finding it hard to concentrate. I’ve been finding it hard to sleep well. I’ve been finding it hard to get motivated and stay motivated. I’ve been finding it hard to pry myself away from my phone. I’ve been finding it hard to be patient and gracious — with others and myself.

I feel all out of sorts and I want to wake up from this nightmare and go back to my life as normal.

This, my friends, is trauma. What our state, our country, and our world is experiencing right now…

Melissa Stek

If I don’t write I can’t call myself a writer. I care about racial and gender justice, mental health, and faith. Stick around for what I have to say about it.

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