I’m horrified by the recent attacks on police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas. I recognize that there are injustices in the executive and judicial systems of the United States, but violence is not the way to protest violence.
The time is ripe for the right voice, the voice that speaks for the pains and anguish of peoples too long oppressed. That voice will not be heard coming from behind the muzzle of a rifle. That voice will not be heard from an angry man shouting, “It’s not fair!” to an uncaring world. That voice will be heard from the mothers crying for their lost sons, husbands, daughters and fathers. That voice will be heard from a thousand heartfelt stories of how I was treated in school, at my job, on the street and even in my home, because my skin was a different color than another, because my race was different from someone else’s race.
We do judge, we do prejudge, we show prejudice. We cannot ignore hundreds of years of history between our peoples. We cannot ignore the brutality that brought many of the African Americans here to the United States. We must acknowledge the choices that our ancestors made and we must choose a different path. We must choose to overcome our internal judges, our own prejudices. We must choose to overcome our instincts to fear what isn’t us, what we perceive isn’t us. We are us.
The greatest lie is that there is an us and a them. We all hurt, we all cry, we all fear, but we also can grow. We can build, we can overcome, we can change. Give us the chance, show us the path to healing. Tell us the words that your hearts are aching to say. Tell us the words that the past has buried so deep that all that is left is pain, fear and violence. We can listen, we can change. We must. It is time.