I have a “Black Lives Matter” sign in my front yard. It’s been there about 6-7 months now. As far as I know, my sign has not had any effect on any passers by. When I’m out in the yard, people walking by don’t comment. I wonder if they even see it?
On these long, hot summer days I wonder why I keep my sign up? Can a yard sign do any actual good? Does a sign change anything?
Certainly not in any major sense. It’s just a sign in a neighborhood. It’s not even on a main road.
Does my sign just make me feel better? Does it make me feel as if I am doing “something”? Not really. Mostly it makes me feel as if I’m not doing anything. I picked up a sign at church, brought it home, and stuck it in my yard. A yard sign is hardly a risky or daring thing to do. Honestly I wonder, is it possible to do less?
Whether my little sign pricks the conscience of anyone, at the very least, my little sign keeps me uncomfortable. It reminds me to pay attention. It reminds me to keep thinking and learning about white privilege and the multiple ways I consciously and unconsciously benefit from it.
Sometimes when I come home and see my little sign, I remember Jesus’ words about how even a glass of water matters. I recall parables about a mustard seed and hidden yeast.Perhaps small actions can matter.
I remember the prophets’ calls for justice. I remember Jesus’ inclusion of the marginalized. I remember Jesus lived and taught in smaller places away from the seat of power.
I remember that substantive change doesn’t happen by one grand gesture. Change happens one person at a time. Substantive change happens gradually. I don’t like that the path to justice is one we walk slowly. I would prefer it if we could sprint and effect change. But that’s what we have.
Perhaps my little sign is only changing me, but that’s a start. So this little sign of mine is going to stay up.