Reflection Series: Part One: I Take Pause

Cornelius Protesters take a pause (photo Rebecca Bouknight)

Old Town Cornelius introduces this reflection series as a way to empower the voices in our community to express their thoughts and feelings about the uncertainty and discomfort of the current social climate.

Throughout this series, we hope to begin the dialogue that is so important to initiate change in our community and in our world.

Additionally, we hope that this series can document the current state of our world, and allow us to all reflect.

Part One: The Playwright & Scholar

I Take Pause

The world is in turmoil and I take pause, for the moment. I am concerned about a number of things in this moment and it all starts with the history of this nation. Four hundred years of injustice and strife among fellow human beings.

Somehow, some of our fellow human beings think that they are different in some made-up imagination. They need to take pause and know that that we are all the same species. That we all desire the same things. We want our children to be safe, live, grow up in a safe environment. We, sane adults, want that for all peoples of the world. I am impressed by a young black girl about seven or eight years old holding a sign that says, “Racism is not Born it’s taught.”  It has been taught for over four hundred years in America. 

African-Americans have had a very different experience from every human being on this planet, when you speak of our history. We have survived slave ships, cotton fields, sharecropping, false-imprisonment, persecution, and even lynching. Now, lynching is a federal crime in the twenty-first century. Why did it take so long? It is because of racism. We are human beings and want to be treated as human beings. However, when you kill us, you give up the right to tell us how we should protest. You have no right to legislate how a family should morn. Especially when you have raped and killed us over four hundred years. You will never be rid of us because we are part of your history (and you) and we are here to stay.

As Maya Angelou would say, “…I rise, I rise….” Poverty will not keep us down, poor neighborhoods, public education, poor economics, low wage jobs, crooked politicians, no medical insurance and unaffordable housing will not keep us down. We will rise! To paraphrase a biblical concept, “You have meant it for bad, God meant it for good.” I take pause.

— Michael Connor

Michael Connor’s Psalm of Lament

I am troubled by the uncertainty of tomorrow

It has been painful for me to express feeling of doubt

When I try to avoid feelings of helplessness in my health

I lament the futures that I will never see

When I consider the suffering of others I feel a need to reach out and help

In my silence, I cry for a better tomorrow and a better understanding of humanity

I want God to know that the faith in me does not see defeat

If only God would continue to be a light in the darkness; my hope will renew my faith each day

If I could only show or remind God that giving up is not an option then others would join the celebration of the life that has been granted to each of us

God would continue to comfort and listen to us, then I would be grateful to God at last for his grace and mercy.

— Michael Connor

Michael Connor at Cornelius Town Hall, and a photo of his great grandfather

Michael D. Connor, is a Professor of Theatre Arts, Professional Actor, Playwright and Director. In his theatre instruction at Livingstone College, he has integrated these disciplines to bring awareness to topics affecting the community the college serves. Mr. Connor feels strongly that people in the community and Livingstone College students appreciate being made aware of potential problems, so he’s written plays about issues including domestic violence, homelessness, teenage pregnancy and diabetes. A Charlotte, N.C., native, a descendant of John Connor of Cornelius

Read More: Part 2: A Confession of Racism written by Pastor David Judge

OTC is quickly becoming a hub for a vibrant and flourishing arts scene. We tell the stories relevant to you: our residents, our visitors, our family and our friends.

By Old Town Cornelius

OTC is quickly becoming a hub for a vibrant and flourishing arts scene. We tell the stories relevant to you: our residents, our visitors, our family and our friends.