SoonjongMy visit to the Center for Civil and Human Rights as part of Dr. Ellen Ott Marshall’s class, “Voices of Nonviolence,” was a powerful experience. After I witnessed many types of violence and suffering at the Center, I meditated on why God allows His children, especially those who lived and are living in authoritarian countries, to suffer and die under that oppression. I saw many of them cry, who live anonymously with little hope. How can God allow such things to happen? How can I still dare to tell my friends that God loves His children? I felt desperation about the world’s ongoing discrimination and injustice issues because I, as a seminary student, can only offer my prayers to them.

In spite of the difficult realities on display at the Center, I could also find small hope. I strongly believe that those who visit the Center become witnesses for the cry and suffering of the oppressed, as a way to express their compassion. Indeed, their presence in itself serves as a sign of solidarity and a voice against the systematic violence prevalent throughout the world.

I realized that our task, as Christians, should be to first find and then witness our oppressed and marginalized neighbors around us. Such witness would help us solve many issues of injustice by expressing our solidarity and serving as voices for equality and freedom.

(Top photo: Soonjong, second from right, with his classmates at the Center for Civil and Human Rights.)