Shrieking Toward the Sky for the Kids Who Have Died | Sojourners

Shrieking Toward the Sky for the Kids Who Have Died

People write notes and visit the small white memorial crosses in the town square in Uvalde, Texas on May 27, 2022. Each cross has one of the names of the 19 children killed in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. Jack Gruber/USA TODAY NETWORK.

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It has been hard to read any of what has been written about the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. At some point, you start to wonder if we have convinced ourselves that words speak louder than actions. The following lines from Langston Hughes’ poem “Kids Who Die” perfectly summarize my feelings:

“Of course, the wise and the learned
Who pen editorials in the papers,
And the gentlemen with Dr. in front of their names
White and black,
Who make surveys and write books
Will live on weaving words to smother the kids who die”

Hughes goes on to imagine something better than words that smother: songs that we sing while marching. I think the songs Hughes has in mind combine words with moaning and groaning, hooting and hollering. So let me be as damned as this country if the stories I selected this week only contain words that smother, and not songs shrieking toward the sky for the kids who have died.

1. A Hymn For People Called To Do More Than Sing and Pray
May we build a world of love — till the sounds of weapons cease, till our young can grow in peace. By Carolyn Winfrey Gillette via

2. Protesting In Front of a Judge’s House Is an Act of Nonviolence
Disruptive protests lift up perspectives that are otherwise erased from political discourse. By Hannah Bowman via

3. No One Said Destroying Our Idols Would Be Easy
If violence is an idol, then it demands sacrifice, and it is one we Americans have paid with the blood of our most vulnerable. By Tyler Huckabee via

4. In America, There Is Mass Death, Then There Is Nothing
Why am I even writing this? What is the fucking point? I don’t have a great answer. By David Sirota

5. It’s Not Hopeless: An Expert on What We Can Do To Reduce School Shootings
In the wake of the shooting at Robb Elementary School, Professor Ron Avi Astor explains how guns are only one piece of the puzzle. By Maggie Severns via

6. We’ll Pray for Uvalde. But as Gun Deaths Mount, There’s Too Much To Pray For
We’ll pray for understanding of God’s grace, but also for an end to a culture of destructiveness. By Cheryl Townsend Gilkes via

7. ‘Men’ Shows Christianity’s Horrifying Legacy of Blaming Women
The narrative of the Fall is a genius backdrop for a film exploring the connections between blame and trauma. By Brandon Grafius via

8. How Texans Have Shown Up for Uvalde — and How You Can, Too
A guide for donating money, contacting your representatives, donating blood, receiving mental health services, and more. By Amanda O'Donnell via

9. The NRA’s Thoughts & Prayers
In this edition of A Public Witness, we look at the principalities and powers preventing us from doing something about gun violence, along with the Christian leaders aiding and abetting their cause. By Brian Kaylor and Beau Underwood via

10. Why Gun Control Feels Out of Reach — And Why There’s Still Hope
A gun control expert on mass shootings, the progress gun control advocates have made, and why the NRA no longer defines gun culture in the U.S. By Aja Romano via