Yea Though I Walk Through The Valley of The Shadow of Death…I Will Fear All The Evil

Oluwatoyin Salau

I’m having a hard time this early morning. Not because it’s early, but because the world I live in is evil. It’s not just among the gutters of systemic racism and the actors who continuously perpetuate it. The evil isn’t only present in the school to prison pipeline or the prison industrial complex. I’m not just talking about the evil that causes Black mothers and birthers to receive far less care from doctors and OBGYN’s during childbirth. Nor I am only alluding to the evil that spews from the gun triggers of racist white or complicit cops into the countless bodies of my Black siblings. Not even the hands, knees or holds that choke us out of our last breaths. Nah not those.

I’m talking about the evil that is present amongst us in the Black Church. The form of evil that allows Black male pastors to act like the oppressors in one of the few places we as a people should freely love and care for one another. I’m talking about the evil that stares us in the face when our Black boys and girls are allowed to live in dangerous and violent homes because their daddy is the head deacon. I’m talking about the evil that’s complicit with looking over the Black women and girls and children who need its care the most.

We are walking through the valley of the shadow of death these days and honestly…I fear all of the evil.

I’m also talking about the evil that takes place when our sons and daughters are told that instances of sexual abuse, assault, incest and molestation are their fault. The evil that prevails when Black women trust a Black man to look out for them but he instead takes advantage of her.

Even more-so, I’m talking about the evil that prevails when Black women turn a blind eye to the peril taking place in another Black woman’s life.

I know what I’ve read about Oluwatoyin Salau. Her story is not a standalone issue. It is, however, a single drop in a bucket full of similar and even more horrific stories. Stories where women have been deceived. Not cared for. Overlooked. Thrown away. Ignored. Defiled.

Killed.

Murdered by hands with skin the same color as her own.

I sometimes, and dreadfully say that I expect this type of thing from someone of a different race because they don’t value us in the first place.

But when your spiritual and physical death comes by the hands of those you trusted because you were skin kin…I have a loss for words.

Black Women…All we got is us.

We gotta look out for each other. We gotta stand up for each other.

Black Men…You gotta do better.

You gotta stop taking what’s not yours. Stop using your power to hold us down.

Black People…We gotta speak out. We gotta stop acting like this evil world loves us and love ourselves.

All this evil. I see it. I hear it. I feel it. I fear it.

Sure God has not given us a spirit of fear…

…but what happens when we trust God with our lives? With the lives of our children and our loved ones? What happens when we trust God and bad things happen? What happens when we devote our lives to standing up for God’s creation within the Black community and are killed by the hands of those we are fighting for?

I just don’t know anymore. I sit with the questions knowing I may never have the answers. But I do know that God’s integrity is on the line. I keep hearing my friend and sister Janiece Williams, MDiv., say this in my head.

“God, your integrity is on the line.”

You can’t keep letting this happen to us, to our friends or to our family.

God, what are you gonna do about this?

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