America, how are your children doing?


And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

Matthew 25:40

More than likely you have heard the African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child,” in which this is and has been true for both African culture and even African American culture as a way of life. The Masai tribe from Kenya bring life to this proverb by the way they greet one another. Every time a Masai see one another they greet each other with this statement, “Kasserian Ingera,” which means, “How are the children?”. So before a conversation about family, money, work, health or any other thing, the Masai teach us that if we ask about the least of these in our village first, we have prioritized our focus. From here, the rest of the village will be great–as long as those who are unable to help themselves are fine, everyone else will be good. However, here is another African proverb that has more of a stinging reality of our current situation, “The child that is not embraced by the village will burn it down just to feel its warmth.” Our villages are burning down, violence is torching our communities, lack of jobs, unjust schools, policing, poor health and lack of prioritizing the least of these has caused villages to burn. Have we lost the urgency of what Christ was teaching in Matthew 25:40. The reality of our walk with Christ must bear witness to the fact, what we do to the least of these we have done it to Jesus? A teacher gave each of his students a piece of paper and said draw on this paper someone that you do not like. Then he had them put the picture on the wall and gave them all about 20 darts and said say what you need to say to this person and throw the darts. After all the hollering calmed down, he asked each student to take the picture they put up and turn it over, the each of the students shock it was a picture of Jesus Christ (as we could imagine him to look like, dark skin, brown eyes, beard). Then he said remember what we do to each other we are also doing unto Jesus himself.


Phil Jackson is a 30-year urban youth ministry veteran from Kansas City to Baltimore, living for the last 25 in Chicago. Phil and his wife have been married for 32 years, have three great grown kids, and live in North Lawndale and serve as the founder/ED for The Firehouse Community Art Center (

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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