Andre Henry Helps Us Find the Freedom to Flourish | Sojourners

Andre Henry Helps Us Find the Freedom to Flourish

'All the White Friends I Couldn't Keep' teaches readers language, strategies, and habits of nonviolent, anti-racist resistance.
All the White Friends I Couldn't Keep: Hope—and Hard Pills to Swallow—About Fighting for Black Lives, by Andre Henry / Convergent Books

AUSTIN CHANNING BROWN, author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, posted once that she didn’t need “more friends” but rather wanted “partners in the struggle for justice.”

As a white Midwesterner, I’d thought of racial injustice as an individual problem—individuals not liking other individuals who didn’t look like them. Therefore, the answer to racism was friendship. I worked at churches that celebrated calls to the common table in worship, absent confession or repentance, to sanctify my individualistic take on race. Brown’s words shook me—this activist wants co-laborers, not friends? What even is the work if it’s not friendship?

While Andre Henry is Black and grew up in the South, he and I were raised on the same milk of individualistic race relations. In his debut book, All the White Friends I Couldn’t Keep, Henry narrates his journey out of the “colorblind” evangelicalism of his childhood to being an artist, activist, and community organizer for systemic racial justice.

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