I have not been able to rest after seeing George Floyd be murdered on camera by Minneapolis policemen. I watched a fifteen minute clip of these men murder him without mercy or compassion. These officers were comfortable and did not show any degree of compassion towards a man and citizen they had sworn to protect. I felt rage. I cried. I screamed. I hugged my beautiful brown children. I showed them the video, which was very difficult and challenging. Explaining to them how I could look at such an act and afterwards be loving and kind. I had a very deep talk with them about the system of hate that has been in some ways conveniently ignored until someone dies. I was real with them about what I felt but how I could not go that way. I could not go down that road of anger and riots because it would lead to more hurt and destruction. Instead, I talked to them about the power of love and nonviolence. The other way. The better way. My only way of fighting in these challenging times.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
My children know where I stand and what I teach because they see me live it out daily. They see me go through my emotions and have the freedom to feel but never let it lead to violence. Never let it lead to destroying the property of or harming another person. Anger is justifiable but violence is not because it does not reconcile. They know the history of nonviolent protesters of the 60’s, how the power of it changed the world we live in. How it transformed the landscape of our country politically. How it opened the door to reconciliation and started a culture of love and not hate. Yes, hate is very present but the system of it is not the same because of the unearned suffering of the nonviolent protesters. People who put their convenience down and got uncomfortable by walking instead of taking the segregated buses, got uncomfortable.
Nonviolence brought change in the most unconventional way. People stood up when told to sit down and sat down when told to stand up. They stop shopping for convenience because the cause of justice was greater. Nonviolence challenged the system in a way that was mocked and ridiculed by many but brought undeniable results. People that felt the urge and anger to take to the streets and fight with guns and burn down cities, instead stood in unison with a fire of hope in their bellies to resist the hate around them and in them nonviolently. Instead of wanted to kill or take another life, would lay their jobs down and their own lives. Nonviolence opposed those that coin the phrase, “By any means necessary” with “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”. Loving those that oppose them with the hope of not just getting to sit at a lunch counter but to sit together as brothers and sisters.
Our country is riddle with acts of hate and injustice against people of color. But I truly believe the foundation and core of our country is love and unity, which we have failed to live up to it. We have failed to hold true the core beliefs that “all men are created equal”. It is because of our failures to act on our core beliefs that the countries convenience had to be challenged with the unconventional acts of nonviolence.
White America, this change will not happen without some degree of being uncomfortable, I understand. Without some degree of inconvenience and unconventional acts, I understand. But this change is possible if you are willing to get uncomfortable and inconvenienced, you will begin to see it.
Today is a good day to get uncomfortable.
In Peace & freedom