In 1983, a member of the KKK listened as black musician Daryl Davis performed in an all-white lounge.
The Klansman liked Daryl’s music and remarked that he’d never heard a black man who played as well as Jerry Lee Lewis (a talented white musician).
Daryl told the Klansman that Jerry Lee Lewis was a personal friend. And the truth of it was, this white guy the Klansman was so fond of had learned to play from black blues players.
Even though Daryl had doubts about how wise it was to sit around talking to a Klansman, the conversation lasted late into the night and the two became friends.
That friendship led Davis to begin a lifelong quest to befriend KKK members and, as a result, collect the robes and hoods of Klansmen who choose to leave the organization because of their friendship with him.
I know some people aren’t in a place–personally or circumstantially–where they can risk the vulnerability that Davis does. There have been stages in my life, too, where I needed freedom to honestly work through my anger rather than pressuring myself to sit down at the table with my opponents.
But Daryl’s story has massive appeal for me in this stage of life. It reminds me there is more I can do to raise my voice against injustice.
Sometimes I need to be braver. I need to be willing to more aggressively confront injustice and to try to do so in a way that calls out hate without perpetuating it.
But it also reminds me that a powerful part of our advocacy is who we are.
It’s our patience.
Our self control.
Part of our advocacy spills out in who we’re willing to endure with.
Who we’re willing to stay in conversation with.
Who we’re willing to stretch to love over the great divide of our differences.
There are many valid ways to advocate for justice. One is to fight. Another is to choose to love, even when fighting is justified, so the unjust might one day feel so loved they turn in their hoods.
Let’s collect some hoods.
You can read the rest of the article about Daryl Davis here.