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Shirley Sherrod, an Opportunity
By Greg Pendleton   

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A story of Grace

I'm sure by now most of us have heard of the story of Shirley Sherrod, a black woman from Georgia whose career with the United States Department of Agriculture was put in jeopardy by a maliciously doctored video of her speech before the NAACP.  It was an attempt by a right-wing organization to discredit the Obama Administration and the NAACP as being racist in nature.

While hatred and bigotry should have no place in the perfect world we envision, they have shown their ugly heads to us once again, reminding us of the struggle that yet remains ahead of us in order to perhaps make that perfection a reality.  And yet, it is precisely that hatred and bigotry that have allowed the story of Ms. Sherrod to come forward and enlighten the rest of us.

Shirley Sherrod and her family have endured the most extreme example of racial bigotry, as her father was shot and killed many years ago by a white man who was never charged with the crime, even though practically everyone in the community knew of it.   Like it would for most of us, this action brought forward in Ms. Sherrod and her family a great mistrust and fear of her white neighbors and those throughout this nation, fostering within her the feeling of racial hatred.  Ultimately she realized through her own personal epiphany that hatred was not and would never be an answer for the problem we face. The only real answer was racial harmony, and this could only be achieved through a coming together of a greater relationship.  Despite the colors of our skin, within each of us resides the same hope, dream, and human potential.

Shirley Sherrod has shown us the majesty of the Human Spirit and the transcendence that is possible when faced by the fear that seeks to overwhelm us.  Her example is one that can propel the rest of us forward, one that tells us truly that the answer to all of our troubles is very simply Love, the essence from which everything proceeds.

I am quite sure there are many stories among us typified by that of Shirley Sherrod, stories that each of us need to hear.  Presented to us through these stories is a dynamic that is Spiritually cleansing, a gift we could all put to great use.



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