Every night as I put my 10-month old son down to sleep, I pray that he would become a person who always stands up for what is right. That he would do the right thing, even when it’s hard. As I pray over him, I am reminded that for him to become a person of integrity, I must model it first.
“Your greatest responsibility is to use your voice, for there are so many people, too many people in our world who are never heard– even when they scream.”
I wonder what would happen if we lived in a world where Facebook posts highlighting injustice were met with the same attention as wishing me a “Happy Birthday”.
Hear me out.
#BlackLivesMatter #PhilandoCastile #AltonSterling #BlueLivesMatter #Dallas.
It is both/and. Not either/or.
Both/and. Not either/or.
It’s not about picking a side. Being pro-black does NOT mean I am anti-police. And being pro-police does NOT mean I am anti-black.
I have many friends on the police force. I love them and their families dearly. I pray for them often.
I have many black friends. I love them and their families dearly. I pray for them often.
I grieve for the tragic losses this week. Deeply. I have shed many tears and have seen so much misunderstanding and ugliness on my social media feeds from people that I KNOW. So I must say something…
I am devastated by the Facebook Live video that went viral showing the aftermath of an innocent black man pulled over for a busted tail light and shot in front of his girlfriend and her 4-year old daughter.
I am devastated that the people around me, in MY CIRCLES, continued to post about your care-free summers. You were careful not to “step on any toes” because you feared posting about this video would seem anti-police. You didn’t post your condolences, or to #prayfor____ because you didn’t have all the “facts.”
You said nothing.
Yet, when the Dallas shooting took place (just as extremely devastating and wrong for MORE innocent life to be taken, #Dallas and DPD, I stand with you), within minutes, my friends changed their Facebook profile and cover photos, wrote heartfelt posts, started hashtags, etc.
YES, PLEASE do that. Because police deserve our support and our respect. They put their lives on the line for people like my family and I, DAILY. I thank them, I honor them, I applaud them, I pray for them…
However, I am HURT that those very same friends that are active on social media stayed silent just hours before. Hours. Before.
“We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I hope this challenges you. I hope this convicts you. I hope that you talk to me about it. I hope that you see Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, as devastating as the deaths of the brave police officers in Dallas. I hope your heart aches for the mothers, wives, and children they ALL left behind. I hope you would have shared a GoFundMe page to put Alton Sterling’s kids through college as quickly as you’d share a GoFundMe page for the funeral arrangements for the officers in Dallas.
If you are white, hi, I love you, you matter. And if you’re still reading this, thanks. I am asking, begging YOU, to open your eyes. Please, wake up to the ugly reality that racism still exists. That our country is perpetuating a dangerous, violent and unfair cycle of statistically more black people being shot by police officers. Saying #BlackLivesMatter is not saying that Blue Lives don’t. They DO. They absolutely DO. #BlackLivesMatter is a movement to take a stand against police brutality, fight against anti-Black racism, and encourage social action and engagement of the systematic oppression of people of color.
All lives DO matter, but justice for black people, and the history of oppression and injustice of African-Americans in our country is the justice that I seek.
“Stop saying ‘all lives matter’
Understand why you can’t say that. Whatever people need to do to understand why that’s not OK, they need to do that. What we’re saying right now is that all lives will actually matter when black lives matter — and black lives don’t matter right now. So we need to say black lives matter to change that. We need to change that individually, we need to change that within our communities and we need to change that systemically.”
– Robbie Clark, organizer with Black Lives Matter Bay Area
If I am forced to take a side, it is the side of humanity.
Black people are literally saying “Stop killing us,” and there are people saying “but…
I guarantee that many of your friends of color are waiting for your support to RECOGNIZE injustice when you see it and say, “This is unfair. It’s not right. It’s awful. What can I do?”
I am one of them.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
This is a BIG question. This is not the only response, and this may not be the best response, but we must start somewhere. We have to do something and stand up for what is right and teach our children to do the same.
- When you see a black friend post something about #BlackLivesMatter, ask them how they feel about all of this.
- When you see a black friend post something about #BlackLivesMatter, tell them you stand with them and mean it.
- Stop saying “All Lives Matter”
- When you see a police officer, shake their hand and tell them “Thank you for your service.”
- Write to your local police chief and share your support and your concerns.
- Pray for the black community.
- Develop empathy for the black community– Act like your black friend had a relative die, this will help you post your condolences to the black community instead of insensitively jumping to conclusions that negate the devastation of a human’s life being taken.
- Pray for police officers in America and their families.
- Pray for WISDOM and use it on social media.
- Read your Bible, seek WISDOM- Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes
- Pastors, Churches: Pray for unity and peace in your cities. People are looking to YOU for answers as their spiritual leaders, lead them.
- Parents, talk to your kids about the innocent lives being taken this week. Say their names. Show them their pictures. Pray for their families. Talk about hate. Talk about love. Teach them to stand up for what’s right. Teach them to LOVE THEIR NEIGHBOR. Teach them that skin color is beautiful and not better/less than.
As I pray over my son each night, I am reminded that for him to become a person of integrity, I must model it first.