Born a black German of Ghanaian descent, Ellen Akomeah has experienced more than her share of racial incidents.  She shares how she has dealt with it and how seeking justice is a core part of our Adventist identity.

Injustice plagues our world. This is witnessed in slavery and human trafficking, enforced acculturation of Uighurs in China, unfairly criminalized refugees indefinitely detained, Aborigines dying in Australian police custody, etc.  A grim catalogue too expensive for this short piece of index. If the year 2020 has shown us anything, it is that our time on this earth is short. As a church, we must recognize the urgent need to get the Three Angels message to a chaotic and rapidly disintegrating world.

Born in the early 1980’s, I developed a thick skin in response to the countless encounters of racism and injustice. Because of my lived experience of racial attacks, I learned quite early in life to shake off a lot of those incidences and move on. The May 25 murder of an unarmed civilian George Floyd triggers memories.

In recent times, I have found myself in the midst of difficult and uncomfortable discourse about racism and injustice. These conversations run the risk of birthing ‘whataboutism’ which in turn we can lead to be pulled to the left or right. As Seventh-Day Adventist Christians we must be at the centre. The Christ-centred bridge of reconciliation and hope.

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that ‘God defends the justice of the orphan and widow. God loves the immigrant, giving him food and clothing’ (Deuteronomy 10:17-18). God is interested in, and cares about justice and oppression. He has commissioned us to go to all nations, tongue and kindred to preach the gospel. In so doing, God wants us to also ‘seek justice; defend the oppressed; take up the cause of the fatherless and plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17).

The pioneers of our Adventist faith such as William Miller, Joshua V. Himes, Joseph Bates, Ellen White and others lived by these biblical principles. Without undermining the preaching and the gospel, they were radical abolitionists and active members of anti-slavery societies. They actively packed petitions that led to the eradication of rulings such as Jim Crow laws. In his fight against slavery and racism, our first General Conference President John Byington kept fugitive slaves in his home. In so doing, these faithful pioneers demonstrated that the entertainment of such behaviour and thoughts, consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously must be abandoned.

Seeking justice for the oppressed is a core part of our Adventist identity. ‘He has shown you, O mortal what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’. (Micah 6:8).

Ellen Akomeah