Resistance & Ritual from the Margins: Sankofa

February 14, 2021

"It is not taboo to go back and fetch what is at risk of being left behind." -- translation of the Sankofa symbol of the Akan people

For those who have spent time in the Christian church, the going back that the Akan symbol calls us to, unfortunately, has been stamped as taboo. Particularly for BIPOC folx, our pre-colonial ancestral roots have been framed as diabolical and any attempt to explore them as heretical. For white folx, the attempt to go back and fetch a placed, interdependent identity is difficult, lonely work. Yet, in order to move into a liberative Christianity as the enslaved folx who created hush harbor churches did, we all have to go back. To find the Jesus that they found -- the Jesus who is insistently with the oppressed and who draws us into the Trinitarian life of mutuality and self-giving -- we must gather what has been left behind. The recovery of the church from the disease of empire requires it and any creative future for our society in which all flourish must be built upon it.

Rev. Tonetta Landis-Aina is a native of North Carolina and moved to Washington DC in 2004. She holds a Masters of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary and is passionate about marginalized people finding their stories in scripture as well as about the new shapes the church will take in the 21st century. When Tonetta isn't geeking out on the Bible or trying to piece together what God might be doing in this beautitul city, she is enjoying time with her wife and 2.5 year old son who loves to assure everyone that he's grumpy.