I started this post yesterday but I was too scared to post it. I was afraid of what would be said by those who will disagree with me. I could visualize the silent “ssshhhh little white girl, we don’t speak of things like this” glare that would come from some people but this morning when I woke up, my husband said, “Another black man was shot by a police officer yesterday.” And I won’t let those who may disagree stifle my voice any longer because this is an important issue and now more than ever we need every voice lifted high.
I want to preface this by saying that I am in no way writing a piece that is anti-police. That is not my intent at all and if that is what you take from this than you are not truly hearing my heart on the matter. There are bad apples in every bunch. There are ministers being arrested on sex trafficking charges. There are teachers/coaches arrested for inappropriate relationships with students. There are doctors selling prescriptions on the street. We can all likely name someone within our line of work that has made a poor call in judgement. And by acknowledging this, we must be honest with ourselves and say that there are also men and women in uniform who are not apt to using sound judgement based on fear (because let’s be real, their job is scary!), prejudice, sleep depravation, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and the list goes on and on and on. There are many more good men in uniform than bad… I know a hand full of them, they are good people who are truly looking out for the good of the people. But let’s not turn a blind eye to those who aren’t.
7/6/2016: My husband and I watched the video of Alton Sterling being shot while being pinned down on the ground by two police officers in Baton Rouge, LA, last night. I recall thinking, “What is wrong with these people?” and then I rested comfortably and fell asleep. I didn’t do anything, I was upset that this has happened YET AGAIN and I went to sleep. It’s like I’m numb to it now. Black people are slaughtered in the street so frequently that I’m not even moved to say a word any more because I feel so helpless that I just go to bed.
There’s a problem here. And I think it lies in folks just like me. See, I never have to worry that my husband could be pulled over for a busted tail light and be shot and killed. I don’t have to worry that my nephew could be out on his normal run, just training for cross country, and be mistaken as if he’s running from the police and be shot and killed. Growing up, we would set up a table in front of the drug store in Humboldt during the Strawberry Festival and sell toys and bags and costume jewelry (basically anything that would sell!), I never had to worry that an officer might notice that my dad was carrying a handgun, which is registered and legal in the state of TN, and that he might be pinned down, shot and killed. And it’s because we’re white.
And the problem lies in my silence. I’m white and I don’t carry those fears and I feel so completely helpless when these things happen ALL of the time that I say nothing! White friends, we MUST link arms with our black brothers and sisters and stand with them and proclaim that Black Lives DO Matter!! And I think that there are some of us that think that this is just a black issue and that we need to stay out of it but that’s the problem!
We need politicians on both sides of the party system to speak out. Our politicians need to stop worrying about losing votes in an election year and speak up for what is right and that is getting to the root of the problem and fixing it. And before you ask, I don’t know what that fix is but we have to spur one another along to finding it!
We need our pastors to speak out about this. We, as a Christian community, need to unite as the body in which we were created and stand up for justice. You who were so vocal about our crooked justice system this week when we learned that Hillary Clinton would not be charged in the recent FBI Investigation… are you equally outraged about this injustice? We must set our agendas aside and stop swinging to the right and to the left and start fighting for an issue that is right in front of us.
So, when you see #BlackLivesMatter being plastered around, they are NOT saying that your life does not. They are not putting themselves of more importance than other races. They are not saying that ONLY Black Lives Matter. And I hear people say that they feel this way but you have to take yourself out of the equation and recognize that this is not about you. Their fear is real and we can no longer turn a blind eye to the lives of those that killed and those who were acquitted of those charges. They are taking a stand. And we should be standing with them. And unless we are standing up and rallying around the issue at hand, our silence is making it worse by not acknowledging that there is a real problem.
So I’m calling out to all of us who feel helpless and like we don’t have a voice here because the pigmentation of our skin doesn’t match those being wronged in this instance – we do! And if we do not speak up, we’re part of the problem!