A Calling to Prison Ministry and Antiracism Work

“It’s a struggle for me on an ongoing basis to wrestle with my own internalized racism,” Judy Meikle admits. As she discusses how her calling to worshiping with imprisoned people has led her to a greater understanding of the effects of systemic racism, she explains, “I hear myself falling into the trap of exceptionalism, like somehow I’m the good antiracist—I’m not. I stumble all the time, I make mistakes. So I just want to name that and know that I am on this journey making mistakes because I want to do better, and I hope that with the guidance of Spirit others will join.”

Judy has also written about her prison ministry, and her work with the Inside Outside Prison Writing Collective, in Friends Journal. In “Get Thee Behind the Walls,” she says: “I enjoy with great anticipation receiving correspondence from my letter writer.… We speak of our faith, current events, our daily lives, and now that we have built a level of trust and admiration, we speak of our personal hopes and dreams for the future. I am grateful for our connection. I have the sense that we are truly building a bridge between two sides of a river.”

4 thoughts on “A Calling to Prison Ministry and Antiracism Work

  1. Hi Judy, your video is a learning experience; your courage, honesty, and introspection make this an exceptional message to anyone interested in learning how to be an antiracist. Thank you and the unspoken millions like you, with cross-racial relationships working to overcome our white supremacist conditioning.

  2. Thank you Judy, for your honesty and your transparency around the work you are doing. And thank you for introducing me to Bruce and now Joseph.

  3. How you recognize the racism within yourself, and your “white saviorism” makes me think about these same issues within me, within all of us. I do think there is a difference between seeing someone who’s skin is a different color than one own and actually being a racist. Many if not most people see others that are different from ourselves and take note of those differences. Sometimes it can strike emotions that stem from previous negative experiences, but those can quickly be dismissed as lingering traumas. I am a white woman, and as a child, I was bullied many times by kids of color…slapped, harassed, ridiculed, and robbed. That formed impressions within myself that made me leery for a time.

    Later in life, I worked for many years helping underserved urban teenagers and I felt good about what I was doing. I learned a lot. But that doesn’t mean that my ingrained memories and feelings simply stopped. I just put them aside and went on with helping others because It was the right thing to do and I had the power to do so. Still, I am imperfect, as are we all. The main thing is to keep trying and not feel guilty by association to others who have committed so many injustices and wrongs…most notably in today’s world.

    God loves us all equally, and the work you are doing is divine above all else, no matter the confliction you feel. Thank you for your commitment to easing the pain of others. It’s one of the few things we can do to change the world and sooth the soul.

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