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Westminster John Knox Press publication wins prestigious Wilbur Award from the Religion Communicators Council

Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts’ ‘Then They Came for Mine’ offers a blueprint for ways churches can facilitate healing from the impact of racial violence

by Westminster John Knox Press | Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts’ “Then They Came for Mine: Healing from the Trauma of Racial Violence,” a book published last fall by Westminster John Knox Press, has been awarded the 2023Wilbur Prize, the highest honor given by the Religion Communicators Council.

“Then They Came for Mine” was named the winner in the category of excellence in communication of religious issues, values and themes in public media. Learn about other Wilbur Award winners here.

Lewis-Giggetts is an NAACP award-winning writer, an educator, and the author or collaborator of many books in several genres, including “Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration.” She offers those who read her work and hear her speak an opportunity to explore the intersection of culture, identity, and faith at the deepest levels. She is the founder of HeARTspace, a healing community that uses storytelling and the arts to serve those who have experienced trauma. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Essence Magazine, Oprah Daily and more.

According to the description of “Then They Came for Mine,” Black Americans’ resilience during centuries of racially motivated violence is beyond remarkable. But continuing to endure this harm allows for generations of trauma to fester and grow. Healing has to be the priority going forward.

Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts

For decades, Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts clung to her upbringing in the church, believing that racial reconciliation would come through faith and discipline, being respectable, and doing what’s right. But when her cousin became the victim of a white supremacist’s hateful rampage, her body and soul said, “no more.”

The trauma of America’s racial history, wreaking havoc on not only Black and brown folk but white people too, in its own way, will not be alleviated without the will to face it head-on. We must name the dehumanization that plagues us, practice truth-telling and self-care, and make space for our vulnerability — to do the hard work of healing ourselves and our communities.

This book is written with that healing in mind. It unpacks how American systems and institutions enable the kind of violence we’ve seen connected to white supremacy and nationalism. It examines the way media has created a desensitization to violence against Black bodies. It outlines what it looks like for a person who claims to follow Jesus to be anti-racist. But more than anything, it offers a blueprint for healing and reconciliation that includes the necessity of white people untangling from an ancestral mandate of colonization and false notions of supremacy, and Black and brown people reckoning with the impact of trauma and feeling free to grieve in whatever way grief shows up.

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