3 Criticisms of Michelle Higgins’ Urbana 15 Talk that are Gifts to White Evangelicals

This blog-post is a must-read for anyone seeking truth and healing on the journey of biblical racial-reconciliation. I am thankful for the organization I serve with, InterVarsity, and the courage to press in to a much-needed but painful dialogue about our Nation’s birth defect of racism which continues to mar us today. Ram, a colleague of mine in the Mid-West, stands as an Indian-American advocate for the cause of African American brother’s and sisters in the #blacklivesmatter movement. He comments on a talk given by a prophetic voice, Michelle Higgins, whose comments on Ferguson, the Black Lives Matter movement, and a need for racialized America to be healed was certainly disruptive. It was disruptive because that’s what we, the American church, and especially those of us in the majority — white Americans — need in order to LISTEN. It is time for us to listen, to pray, and to act. To be silent in a time like this is to repeat the failure of the white church in the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. At the time, white Americans felt the movement was too disruptive and African Americans should wait for a slower process of change… but in hindsight, I only hear church members affirm the just cause of the movement. So let us not repeat this mistake by hiding beneath a protective shell of comfort and privilege, but let us awaken, listen, and act in justice and mercy. May His Kingdom Come!

Thank you Michelle Higgins & Ram Sridharan for the gift you have given us in speaking TRUTH in love.

Ram Sridharan

Michelle Higgins, Director of Worship and Outreach at South City Church gave a riveting talk on justice, race and the Black Lives Matter movement at Urbana 15. In this article I attempt to respond to the three most common overt or implied criticisms I encountered from white participants. What I write certainly applies to non-black people of color who felt similarly. If the shoe fits, feel free to wear it.

“Why couldn’t she be more balanced in how she said things?”

For some, Michelle Higgins’ message seemed to lack balance but in reality it was an important disruptive word challenging those who have failed to deal with race except at the most cursory level.

If you are reading from a white perspective (or from a non-black perspective) leveling this same criticism, I want to invite you to take a long hard look at what is behind your demand that Rev. Higgins…

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2 thoughts on “3 Criticisms of Michelle Higgins’ Urbana 15 Talk that are Gifts to White Evangelicals

  1. If what Michelle said is controversial, God help us! Your remarks about the evangelical church and the Civil Rights Movement are totally accurate, Rachel (made me wonder at the time what kind of group I was a part of–sometimes I still wonder). Thank you for sharing.


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