Last month, while heading southbound on Orange Blossom Trail [OBT] in Orlando, FL my eyes gravitated to a billboard with a message that didn’t quite sit right with me.
To ensure I wasn’t being deceived, I made a quick U-turn to get a second look.
“Single Black Feline” -Etc.
For the entire evening and later that night, I found no rest as the Lord woke me up around 4AM to pray. Moments later, I was prompted to open up my YouVersion app and zeroed in on the reading plan entitled: “When to Speak Up.”
It was a devotional on the biblical character, Queen Esther and her assignment to make her voice known in a time of trouble for not only herself, but her people. As I read and processed the information, my spirit seemed to fixate on the passage about “…the importance of speaking up when it makes life better for the people around you, deepen[s] your relationships with others and positively impact[s] the problem.”
At that point, I knew God was up to something and it involved me speaking up about this very public display.
As I delved deeper into the life of Queen Esther, her story became more relatable, acknowledging that speaking up in any capacity was kind of “risky business.” Yet, I knew what the Lord wanted me to. The question of ‘how’ became much more complicated.
After learning that the advertisement had been commissioned by Orange County Animal Services, I directed my concern to the county ombudsman, further educating myself on the appropriate steps to take as a private citizen.
After sending him the image and relative location, the official wrote back within fifteen minutes stating how after speaking with the Animal Services Manager, “…she understands your feelings and is going to have it removed.”
Within a week, the billboard was changed and the biased, albeit subliminal message was no longer in public view. We had claimed a victory, just by speaking up.
After a brief celebratory moment, the issue then morphed into something that felt considerably more personal…
After conducting a little more research, I found that exactly three years prior [05/05/17], an article was written by Paul Bedard from the Washington Examiner stating that, “77% of black births are to single moms.”
This statistic tells me that our families and communities are “structurally vulnerable.”
In order to truly understand, the storms circling around us —
Please join us next week at our virtual open house Thursday, May 21 @ 6PM to learn more about how we look for ways to enact social change.