The prophet Elijah is mentioned in Hebrew, Christian, and Islamic scriptures. In Luke, Jesus famously used the example of Elijah to stress his own rejection.

4 24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias [Elijah], when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta [Zarephath], a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.

On August 24, 2019, twenty-three-year-old Elijah McClain was attacked by police on the street in Aurora, less than six miles from where I lived at the time in Central Park, then called Stapleton, after a KKK member/mayor. McClain died three days later. He wasn’t forgotten, but like the prophet, he wasn’t really “accepted” in his own land. It would take the death of George Floyd nine months later in Minnesota to revive the cause of Elijah McClain, just as the prophet would revive the widow’s son. In truth it was McClain’s mother Sheneen who kept Elijah’s death and life on the minds of Aurorans and Denverites, refusing to accept the Adams County district attorney’s decision to decline charges of the police and EMTs. Yesterday, after public outcry shamed the State to intervene, one of two APD officers was found guilty, the other acquitted.

Last night I heard myself mouthing my white-privilege BS: Who walks down the street in Aurora in a baclava in August and expects not to be accosted? Whose mother doesn’t counsel a child about Walking While Black in Aurora? The latent racism in these questions I might be quick to question on another’s lips.

Reflecting later I was reminded of what my late comrade Lowell May said after the murders of Trayvon Martin in 2012 in Florida and Jessica Hernandez here in Denver three years later: What’s remarkable is that these kids and adults choose to resist—knowing they may lose their lives in the process. They refuse to be dehumanized, even as their humanity is robbed.

I’m reminded of this with each bulldozing of a home, each felling of an ancient olive tree, each aiming for the ankles, each death of a kid with a slingshot in the Occupied Territories. And especially now.

4 Replies to “Elijah”

  1. For those of us who are not familiar with the Prophet Elijah, I found this very informative:
    “As told in the Hebrew Bible, Elijah’s challenge is bold and direct. Baal was the Canaanite god responsible for rain, thunder, lightning, and dew. Elijah thus, when he initially announces the drought, not only challenges Baal on behalf of God himself, but he also challenges Jezebel, her priests, Ahab and the people of Israel.”
    His story is very cinematic – there must be a movie… ?

      1. Good sleuthing, Rob. Looks like the film’s director, Brett Leonard (Lawnmower Man), was brought on board in late 2018 but a year later covid hit. So who knows.

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