If you’ve ever wondered what you could do to help put an end to ongoing self-segregation, just ask Stanley Cofer. With a dynamic family to back him up, Stanley isn’t letting man-made lines divide his relationships.
“I’m not pro-black, I’m not pro-white. I’m just pro-human,” he laughs.
So, what does he say to folks who are uncomfortable with his willingness to talk about race issues in a way that spreads unity and grace? What about when white folks distrust his motives? What about when black folks label him as an Uncle Tom?
“I just try to get funny with it,” he chuckles. He’s heard it all, from friends of every pigment, “You’re not black or you’re not black enough.” He doesn’t take it personally.
At every community event, Stanley and the team at Empowerment Community Development seem to draw a mixed crowd. You name it, they show up. I’m talking folks from all walks of life, all ethnic backgrounds, all socio-economic groups, and all ages. With so many churches searching for ways to attract the younger generations, for instance, this is no small feat. What’s his secret? He took a minute and educated me on the power of relevance in an episode of Fireside Talk Radio we called Racial Unity: The Desegregated Life.
Stanley credits his parents with teaching him to value himself and respect others.
“They placed the word of God as the top authority. I never heard my parents downgrade a caucasian person, nor did they exalt their own race.”
He also thanks God for his wife Christy, whose openness matches his own. She makes it easier to accomplish God’s plan for their family to break down barriers to unity among God’s people.
“I don’t think I could have been more blessed with a better woman than Christy. She has always had my heartbeat.”
Stanley strongly states that African Americans “need to quit living in the shadows. We’re not in the 50s and 60s (any) more. Are we going to live out the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King?”
He advises young parents of any race to keep “the Bible as the center of your life…. If Christ is the center, you can’t help but be an agent of love. You will see the world as God sees the world.”
In Racial Unity: the Empowered Community, Stanley explains how we can all make a difference.
“I don’t believe in white privilege. I believe in Jesus privilege. There’s a God who loves us all. There’s a devil who hates us all.” he says, adding, “I just thank God for other friends we have. We are going to make the difference.”
To learn more about upcoming events or to make a donation, go to Empowerment Community Development or to the Tyler Chamber website.
Cathy Primer Krafve, aka Checklist Charlie, lives and writes with a Texas twang. Contact her at CathyKrafve.com.