“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”Martin Luther King, Jr
*I was so shocked by video of the George Floyd incident that I did not feel like writing anything for this blog. I was in shock and felt great sadness for the injustice, inequality and hatred festering in our country. I feel totally helpless in trying to understand the magnitude of the problem, let alone in trying to help solve the disparity.
It was horrible! I could not believe my eyes. I was watching the brutality of a man squeezing the life out of another who was pleading for help while others passively stood there. I wanted to scream-why isn’t somebody helping that guy? I could not believe my eyes as George Floyd took his last gasping breath.
I kept thinking – what if that were my brother, or my son, or my husband, or my friend? How could those that knew and loved George stand it knowing that the horror was preventable? What an outrage! How are black/ brown men ever going to feel safe when approached by the police? Most of the police risk their lives everyday to improve their communities. However, that video of George Floyd pleading for his life, taking his last breath, and then going limp has left an indelible image on all of our brains. Where do we go from here? How do we fight the injustice, brutality, and hatred?
Should we revert back to an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth mentality, fighting violence with violence? Should we abide by the slogan “no justice, no peace”? Is destroying property an effective remedy to the solution? Martin Luther King, Jr expressed in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom, that “Nonviolent resistance is a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love.” It has been a powerful voice for social change. He maintained his hope while protesting the injustice. He states in his 1967 book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community, that“when hopes are blasted, when people came to see that in spite of their progress, their conditions were insufferable… despair began to set in.” However, he concluded that “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate can not drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Do those words of the past still apply in these polarized times? Yes, absolutely! But how can we make a difference? We need to take positive action everyday like the sheriff who took off his riot gear, walked with the protesters, and listened to their viewpoint in this video HERE.
Bishop Curry, the presiding bishop of the episcopal church, agrees that we must still choose love and not hate. Love is not a sentiment, it’s a decision. We must wake up in the morning and focus on our choice, choosing to love those that cross our path that day, despite our prejudices and hang ups. Our individual daily decision doesn’t seem like much compared to the overwhelming problem but “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” …Lao Tzu
That’s the best thing that we can do today.