There is so much pain, anger, and mourning on my social media news-feeds. There are some reactive sentiments that should have been thought through way better before they were posted to Facebook. Because of them, many folks will be conducting damage control with their friends, family, constituents, and co-workers in the coming months. But there is as much expression of empathy and compassion. There are genuinely helpful words and article and video shares. There are reminders of the ancient wisdoms that our ancestors passed down to us. Last night I went to bed with all this on my mind. And I woke up thinking about how it must be to not feel equally protected under the law based on my race or culture.
I consider myself an empathetic person, but it is difficult for me to imagine not feeling confident to do what I presently do or go all the places that I go. I’ve never feared the police because of my race or anything else. In fact, I was raised by a cop. I’ve never felt immediately threatened or unwelcomed by the confederate flags waving in front of houses in various places along the route to my favorite national park in the way Glenn Nelson from Trail Posse has described. They are only harmless icons that disappoint me. I’ve never had to wonder if someone who hates me because of how I look lives there.
The places that made me feel uncomfortable have always been easy to avoid because 99.995% of the country welcomes me based on how I look. I’ve always felt like the system supported me. Yet, so many of my friends, family, and loved ones do not know this feeling. I want everyone to feel as safe as I do. I want everyone to feel like they can access all the same opportunities that I can. I want everyone to love the experiment that the United States is as much as I do.
The data from all the reputable sources show that many American communities do not feel, and are not experiencing, equal protection under the law, especially young black men. This is a problem that we should ALL care about. Speaking up, discussing, and taking action to resolve this inequality is the right thing to do. It is our duty as Americans to demand peace and justice for all of our citizens. It most certainly matters. Do not cheapen or simplify this essential effort by referring to it as political correctness. Resolving this disparity is to live in the universal truth of loving your neighbor as yourself. Turning this wisdom into a way of being is crucial for humanity’s long-term survival and should be applied in earnest this week when you read and watch the news and discuss it with those around you. We will continue moving toward equality and prosperity if we have “Love thy Neighbor” in the front of all our responses regarding the unfolding social justice/racial inequality situations.
I know some cannot relate to the “love thy neighbor” motivation for equality, and to you I recommend exploring the other peaceful resolutions because resolving the inequality issue is essential for everyone’s prosperity.
Thanks, Cathy Wolz Barr for sharing this video of Maya Angelou with me. It has really helped me keep perspective. Maya reminds us that among the clouds there are rainbows. “Be a blessing to somebody.” Please watch and share her words.