A prayer for these times
There is so much I have to say about the violence of last week. So many thoughts, so many questions, so many feelings.
Like so many of you reading this now, I am filled with grief and outrage that again police inflicted brutality on the citizenry they are employed to protect, again resulting in the death of two innocent black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. And then there was more tragedy, more death, when a frustrated and disturbed man replicated those acts, shooting 5 Dallas police officers at the end of what had been a peaceful protest.
There is so much I have to say about all of this, but I will leave most of it to the Black community, who are most affected by the shootings. I have included links at the bottom with Black perspectives on the topic, plus information about the shootings.
But I do have something to say, specifically to all the white folks reading this right now: We cannot look away. It is horrible, it is graphic and we cannot look away.
Violence against black people is unfortunately nothing new. My grief and rage is for what happened last week, but also for what has been happening since the founding of our nation. Our country was literally built on violence and unimaginable brutality against black folks, as their bodies were hauled in like livestock, sacrificed as needed, used to grow food and bare and raise children, and literally build the infastructure of the United States.
And for most of the existence of the United States, the white community has not been able to acknowledge and face that violence. It is a small percentage of white Americans that commit acts of violence against black and brown people but they are able to get away with it because, when they do, a majority remain silent.
As blogger Adrienne Maree Brown said in an Instagram post, “Things are not getting worse, they are getting uncovered. We must hold each other tight, and continue to pull back the veil.”
The perspective I choose to take in the world is that change is possible and that it is happening now. As we peel back the painful layers of decades of racism, as more violence surfaces, we are moving towards ending these things.
But, I think it bears starting, peeling back those layers is a vital step we cannot skip. We have to reckon with our past and our present. We have to take a good, hard, honest look at what is happening, and what has happened, to our fellow brothers and sisters.
In these two cases, there are actual videos of the police shooting the men. If you have not already, watch the videos. If you can, watch them with someone else. Hold their hand if you need to. They are both absolutely horrific.
And we have to watch and we have to feel the pain of watching. We have to be with it. We cannot deny that pain or minimize it or try to move on when it hurts too bad. We have to stay right there with that it, letting it overtake us, letting it destroy us and break our hearts.
Because, when our hearts break, they broke open.
And I pray that, with open hearts, we are able to reweave the threads that connect us to our Black brothers and sisters, threads that have been severed by a made-up racial hierarchy that serves no one. And then, with those threads, may we cast a net that will bring to us us a new dream for our country.
I really appreciate this video because it really honestly shows the status of racial conversations in the the US. Instead of talking about policies or possible solutions, former Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus Angela Rye has to explain to the representative what the issue even is.
Alicia Garza on MSNBC: An interview with one of the original #BlackLivesMatter folks.
For Police and Black Citizens, the Real Problem is Fear: an article with lots of statistics about the issues.
And I will end with this stunning photo: