The wind has picked up in bits and pieces over the last few days and the clouds have been creeping through, promising rain, but not delivering which is good for everyone still harvesting. The temperatures are more temperate than usual for July. And across the world fear and anger rule the day.
I wish I knew how to help, what to do.
So many people have righteous anger over senseless deaths and that anger turns to violence online and offline. Tuesday morning Alton Sterling was shot and Wednesday night Philando Castile was shot. These are just two of the most recent shooting deaths by police officers. There have been so many deaths in the last four years; pairing those deaths with the long-term treatment of Black Americans, people are angry and want justice. The police officers get more and more worried about reprisals which causes them to operate more on fear than compassion and the shootings of police officers in Dallas tonight shows us why many officers are scared.
Things have been wrong since the first twenty Africans were brought over as indentured servants. Things have been wrong since slavery was institutionalize long before it became law. Things have been wrong since domestic terrorists used laws and brutal punishment to keep the descendants of slaves in the fields of The South and then sent them fleeing once they weren’t needed in such large numbers. Things have been wrong since the Chinese who came here to build the transcontinental railroads had to live in underground tunnels they built so they wouldn’t contaminate towns and their citizens. Things have been wrong since the riots of 1919. Things have been wrong since we put Japanese Americans in internment camps because they looked different and might be spies. Things have been wrong with the treatment and payment of migrant workers (especially the population that moves between Mexico and the Western States). Things were wrong long before Emmett Till and Rosa Parks and countless other social justice victims and warriors. Things have been wrong since freedom really meant bottom of the food chain and segregation. Things have been wrong since waves of immigrants were treated with anger even though the jobs they take are the ones no one else wants. Things have been wrong since the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed. Things have been wrong since people started shooting up schools, shooting up churches, and using peaceful protests to create anarchy and chaos.
Are there any answers? All I see is more questions:
- How do we help police officers to interact better with the people they talk to or pull over?
- How do we help citizens to interact better with each other and with police officers?
- How do we stop this increasingly vitriolic and vicious cycle?
- How do we show the next generation about respect and courtesy and justice?
- How do we stand up for our beliefs and get people to listen?
- How do we bridge the divides that are being created right now?
- How do we make this better, less violent, less deadly?
- How do we honor people who have died on both sides of the issue while finding a solution?
I keep coming back to what I wrote this morning:
- We have to keep trying.
- We have to listen.
- We have to stand with those who are victimized.
- We have to see the whole picture, especially the parts that make us uncomfortable.
- We have to learn.
- We have to own our mistakes.
- We have to do better.
- We have to give others the chance that we would want—to live, to apologize, to learn, to speak, to change.