Written by Calvonia Radford, 6.08.2020
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1
What’s your name?
I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. Can you repeat it a little louder for those in the back?
One more time, but this time say your name with boldness, with confidence as if your life depended on it.
My name is Calvonia Louise Vaught Radford.
I’m named after my parents and my paternal grandparents. My grandfather was named Calvin and he passed that name down to my father. My grandmother and my mother’s middle names were Louise. Thus, my name, Calvonia Louise.
My name was carefully chosen to represent two branches higher than me on our family tree. They ensured that even after their death, when my name was called, they would be remembered.
The last few weeks have been filled with devastating news, leading to global unrest.
Our poor world was already reeling and rocking in disbelief as an unprecedented number of people became sick and many died of an invisible enemy called, COVID19.
Suddenly, when we thought it couldn’t get any worse than being healthy at home, missing our family members, co-workers and fellow congregants, all hell broke loose.
The death of George Floyd, on May 25th catapulted our nation into a perfect storm. Our nation and ultimately our world took note of racial equality and systemic atrocities that though not new, were displayed in 3D.Tweet
Last Friday my husband and I were driving past our courthouse where a diverse crowd was gathered, facing the oncoming traffic. They were yelling, “No justice, No peace” as well as other phrases familiar to current protests.
I had passed there each day while walking and saw a few people standing there holding signs and making a visual statement of disapproval regarding current events. Only one of those people was black. I was touched but not moved to action. I took a video, snapped a few pictures and continued on my walk.
Yet, on Friday, those voices called out to me and their confident stance beckoned me to join. So I did. I walked up to the courtyard, swapping a #BlackLivesMatters sign with my daughter who was leaving the site and I participated.
It was nice to be counted in the number as we stood in solidarity.
Various ethnicities and colors. Different religious backgrounds and economical statuses, but one in thought as it relates to humanity and the right to life regardless of skin color.
The chants were mainly led by high school students that didn’t look like me. There was a call and response.
They said, “No Justice”, and we responded “No Peace”.
At one point, a young lady cried out emotionally with tear filled eyes, “Say His Name!”, “George Floyd!”. “Say Her Name!”, “Brionna Taylor!”.
When I heard their names, a sadness that cannot be described with mere words welled up in me and I wept.
Their names represented much more than a movement.
Someone labored over those names. Reading names off a list on the internet. Pondering the names of family members past and present. Drawing a line through some and highlighting others.
I remember when we chose the names of our children. We were diligent to search for names with meaning. We wanted their names to determine the trajectory of their lives.
Mario – Warrior
Casondra – A helper to mankind
Christian – A follower of Christ
I’m not sure if the parents of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David Mcatee, Dominique Clayton, Eric Reason, Atatiana Jefferson, Botham Jean, Philando Castile, Bettie Jones, Walter Scott, Natasha McKenna, Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, Michelle Cusseaux, Ezell Ford, Eric Garner or Emmett Till knew the meaning of their children’s names, but their names are powerful.
Their blood stained names cry out to us today. Crying out for change.
Listen to the comforting words of God in Isaiah 43:1, as he says,
“Now this is what the LORD says, the one who created you, Jacob, and the one who formed you, Jsrael. Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine.”
In the Eastern culture, calling someone by name was a sign of individual tenderness, making them distinct, calling out of them the purpose on their lives.
Each of us were born with a plan and purpose for our lives. God calls it out in us. He knows our names.
Our names are powerful. They must not be dismissed. We must strive to live up to the names, God calls us. He calls us redeemed! He calls us to a purpose, even if that purpose can only be fulfilled through death.
Let us pray:
Father, our hearts are heavy. Families are grieving. The citizens of our country are confused, disgusted and angry. Night after night, the names of the fallen are spoken into the air. You know their names. Don’t let their deaths be in vain. Lord let their names go down in history as change agents pushing us forward to make a difference. In Jesus name, Amen!
Thoughts to ponder:
What is the meaning of your name? If you don’t know, ask a family member if they know the meaning or look it up online. Do you value the names of those who look differently than you? Would you be willing to call their names?
If this blog post has blessed you, impacted you, convicted you or encouraged you, please like, comment and share before you leave. God bless you!