Within the last forty-eight hours, two gunfire eruptions have ripped the fabric of our nation. To those who continually preach hatred and fear of Black Americans, I ask, “Do you really want to ignite the Civil War again?”
As a white grandmother, mother, and retired educator, I sit in the comfortable safety of my neighborhood and wonder what terrifying thoughts would I have if my husband, son, and grandsons were dark? I try to perceive an unimaginable level of prejudice. I ask, “What right do I have to my privileged shelter?” More important, what responsibilities do I have in response to raw hatred?
First, I acknowledge that thousands of police officers risk their lives daily to protect society. However, we must also acknowledge the consequences of insufficient training. When did our protecting agents decide to shoot first and ask questions later? Triggers get pulled too quickly when society as a whole exchanges trust in all humankind with suspicions of specific groups. Hate breeds more hate.
Fears prompt snap decisions. Peace only thrives when we honor the divinity of every being.
Although I hold myself responsible for my lack of empathy and my deficiency of actions, I ask, “What movements can I reasonably take?”
I can step out of my comfortable nest and engage Black citizens in conversations. I can seek to identify and strive to understand the raw terror of my neighbors.
Letters can be mailed to leaders at the city, state, and national levels decrying violence toward minority citizens.
I can get off my couch and attend rallies, which seek solutions rather than rallies that become fuel for fires.
Most importantly, I can proclaim a Child of God status for every human. To those who spread hatred, I can proclaim the truth. All men regardless of color, ethnicity, religion or origin must be seen and treated as brothers, worthy of life and dignity.
If I dare to quietly accept continued loathing, I indeed help perpetuate a climate that will ultimately destroy our nation.
Alton Sterling Shooting: Second Video of Deadly Encounter Emerges. “Q13 Fox.” July 6, 2016.
Police Shooting During Traffic Stop Leaves Minnesota Man Dead. “CBS/AP” July 7, 2016 CBS Interactive