Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hope in the Midst of the Ferguson Crisis



A day after a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of an unarmed Michael Brown, I must say -- I am weary. 

I am weary of reading and hearing this same news clip over and over again.

And I am weary of writing and rewriting the same blog post over and over again.

I wrote this same post when Trayvon Martin was killed.

I wrote this same post when Mark Zimmerman's trial ended in a not-guilty verdict.

And I'm certain I wrote this exact same post when Michael Brown was killed.

Maybe you - like me - are ready to discuss a different topic. Maybe you'd like to move on from the issue of race relations in the US. 

Maybe you're weary too.

But we must speak. We must write. We must persevere despite our weariness and disillusionment.

More than anything - we must have HOPE.

And it's in the spirit of HOPE that I write today. It's with a heart clinging to hope that I share what I'm hoping for in the midst of this heated debate of race in America.

Today I am hoping...

That the world would hear the heart cries of African American mommas

Last night, it seemed everyone had an opinion about the grand jury's decision. A simple scroll down my Facebook newsfeed gave me an earful. Instead of beginning a debate on the issue, I decided to post a pic of my two sons with this message -- "In light of the Grand Jury's decision in Ferguson, Missouri, I wanted to post a pic of my precious boys Kalin and Christian and say #oursonsmatter!" 

I had no desire for a debate, but wanted to share the heart of an African American mother. No matter how we train our sons, no matter what "good boys" we raise them to be, our sons are at risk. Simply because of their skin tone, they are seen as a threat to many. Drivers will double-lock their car doors when they see them approaching, passers-by will assume they're up to no good. (I know, because I've been guilty myself.) 

Yes, some African American boys will die in the midst of gang warfare. Some will be killed while they are committing a crime. Yet others will die because their intentions are misinterpreted. Some will die because they are perceived as a threat - simply because of dark skin and urban swag.

As an African American momma, Trayvon and Michael's deaths remind me of this reality.


That the Church will make a difference

Instead of arguing over matters of race, the Church should be leading in the area of race relations. The Bible tells us that all peoples, tribes and tongues will live together forever in heaven. Do we have to wait for heaven to experience unity in the Body of Christ?

And we must not forget Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Gentile... for you are all one in Christ Jesus." We are all one in Christ Jesus. So why do we fight so much? Why do we allow political party affiliations and social class and even race to divide us? Why is 11 am Sunday morning still the most segregated hour of the week?

We are family. A dysfunctional one, for sure. Yet we are brothers and sisters y'all. Your joys should bring me joy. My hurts should bring you pain. Even if we disagree, our love should supersede our differences. 

We should represent what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so beautifully coined the Beloved Community. Can you hear Dr. King's voice in the midst of the Ferguson crisis?

"There is another element that must be present in our struggle that then makes our resistance and nonviolence truly meaningful. That element is reconciliation. Our ultimate end must be the creation of the beloved community." MLK, April 15, 1960, Raleigh, North Carolina

We must strive to nurture the Beloved Community. 

We must seek to become the Beloved Community.

Will you do your part?