As a former standout defensive back at the University of Arkansas, Jeromy Flowers knows a thing or two about working together. Diversity can lead to winning. Differences can be learning experiences, ways to expand knowledge.
This is also something he has taught his players as a coach, his current gig being the head football coach at Southwest Christian High School in Fort Worth.
Now, he’s been asked to take his diversity knowledge and share it with others, including faculty, students, parents and members of the community to help build bridges to connect their bridges. Flowers does this from a biblical perspective.
Now in his third season as the school’s director of diversity, Flowers, like many others in positions like his, has faced some harsh challenges society has brought forth in recent times. In addition, he leads the Barnabas Program at the school, supporting new families and students.
Flowers took a few minutes and discussed his role and the significance it has in bringing folks together to explore their differences and turn them into positives:
FWBP: How have you addressed students and/or employees regarding events like the tragic situation with George Floyd and others?
JF: I was able to address all of our students and staff regarding George Floyd through a Zoom video due to COVID. Here is part of my response: “Speaking as both SCS’ director of diversity and a Black man, recent events in our nation have been heartbreaking. For me, personally, I’ve been struggling with mixed emotions. As a Christian, I know the battle against racial injustice has to be fought on our knees and handed over to God. But as a Black man, I am frustrated, hurt, and sad because of the continued racial injustice some of my students, my family, my friends, and I have faced simply because of the color of our skin. In this struggle, I ultimately know that first I am Christian, and all my actions should be a reflection of God.”
In this instance, responding to what has now been officially recognized as the homicide of George Floyd and the rioting across the nation that followed, one question we must
continuously ask ourselves is this: How does our God want us, as Christians, to respond? It is critical that our first response to this situation begins on our knees in prayer. God also calls us to take a stand for any of our brothers and sisters who are wronged or oppressed. If we truly aspire to be Christian leaders in the world, in fact, we should not be silent.
FWBP: Can you tell me about the Barnabas Program?
JF: The Barnabas Program was established at Southwest Christian several years ago to assist new students and families as they transition into the SCS culture and family – spiritually, academically, socially, and through involvement in various ways. I mainly work with first year-families, but I am also available for others as needed.
FWBP: Do you have any tips for organizations in dealing with diversity issues?
JF: The best tip I can give in dealing with diversity issues is to first know that God loves diversity because He’s the one who created it. It is important to look at all controversial topics through the lens of Jesus Christ and what the word of God says. I believe that the word of God is the best tool we can use to handle all conflict.
FWBP: What can our nation do as we move into a new chapter and new year to get a handle on what is happening between the police and minorities?
JF: I believe first we have to take this to God in prayer. Battles are won by starting off on our knees. Next, I believe as Christians we should not be picking sides. Before we are black, before we are police officers, we are children of God. Our actions should show that.
As Christians, we should choose how Jesus would respond. Minorities have to understand that not all police officers are racist, but the ones who are should be dealt with in a court of law in a fair and just way. One option that police departments could consider is better training for officers on how to handle high-stress situations to help with peaceful outcomes.
FWBP: How does your experience as a former football player and current football coach help you in this endeavor?
JF: Not just football, but sports in general have it figured out. Most sports teams that you see work hard together, play hard together, and bond well together, and the players on these teams come from all types of diverse backgrounds. Why is that? In sports, teams set aside all differences to achieve one goal of winning the ultimate prize. The teams that know each other best, and care for each other the most, and work together the hardest, are the teams that are going to win the prize. This is what has to happen if we want to grow together, instead of apart.
FWBP: Have you been a director of diversity anywhere else?
JF: No, I have not. This was a position I was able to create from the ground up. SCS President and Head of School Brian Johnson allowed me to envision what this job should look like and then make it a reality.
FWBP: What are your goals for diversity at the school, community, and even this nation and world going forward?
JF: My goal for diversity is to provide a biblical approach to building bridges between people while embracing the differences Christ alone has created. As a community at SCS, we desire to cultivate an environment that maintains a deep commitment to the promotion of diversity, inclusivity, and equity within our Christ-centered community and global society. We are all image-bearers of Jesus Christ and strive to reflect His love for all.
Southwest Christian High School
6901 Altamesa Boulevard
Fort Worth 76123