Sunrise Middle held its first forgiveness and healing circle to atone for the past atrocities by white people to African Americans last night.
The circle, conducted by Hank Roberts of San Leandro-based Peacemakers, Inc., is hoped to be the first of many such circles in which whites acknowledge the harm done to blacks, as well as other ethnicities, and work to make up for them.
“SIR – Systematic Institutional Racism – is the new slave owner,” Roberts said.
Nat Bolden, a 92-year-old blues singer and former sharecropper, after telling his poignant stories, said it was the first time that white people had ever asked him for forgiveness or acknowledged how they had benefitted from the hard work of black people.
All of the white and black participants in the circle pledged to bring others to future circles and expressed hope that the idea would pick up among other local, state and national governmental entities.