Category: Unity



We Are Ferguson

 

Some pain cannot be hidden, I have put off writing about the Ferguson, Missouri teen, Michael Brown…as long as I possible could.

Some pain is inevitable. I watched the video of the mothers of shooting victims: Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Sean Bell. I have written numerous times about Trayvon Martin and his assailant George Zimmerman. I have expressed my sadness and disappointment in the outcome of the Zimmerman trial. I have even written to George Zimmerman personally, in my blog.

I watched as these strong women flexed their heart muscles toward one another. I could feel the pain they are dealing with, deeply. I know, as was said by one of them, the pain never leaves you. I can understand how that would be true. These strong women are a reigning example to all of us. They reached out to one another, not because they weren’t still in pain…but because they understood the feeling of isolation that losing a child can bring. The compassion they showed was about women…just being moms. Remembering the days when their children were laughing and smiling; lighter times where such tragedies weren’t even in the back of their minds. I admire the love and unity they gave to one another.

As a mother myself, I feel deeply hurt by the death of Michael brown. I am hurt by anyone that would think, say or believe that his murder was okay. Because you see, for me, he was a child. He had a home. He had a family. He had a life separate from what we will hear about in the media. He had a unique smile and contagious laughter…even if his mom was the only one that experienced it. He is a part of humanity…and he always will be.

His death wasn’t unfortunate…for that term tends to lean toward the base word “luck”. Michael Brown was gunned down…and his assailant Darren Wilson will have to live with that fact. We may never know what the day held for Michael Brown or Darren Wilson, before they met that day. Maybe they were confronted by death already. Perhaps someone had harassed or bullied them. Perhaps they had taken all they could stand that day. Possibly, all the patience they could muster had been spent elsewhere. We may never know the truth about the events leading up to the tragic death of this angel.

But from this I can tell you two things:

Michael Brown was gunned down needlessly. And while he may be a statistic that we refer to…he is so much more. I hope that when we think of him; we remember his face. For those that were fortunate enough to have spoken to him…remember his voice and how his eyes sparkled when he laughed. Remember all the greater things about him; do not let the way he left this place be the only conversation about him. He had a soul and he touched all those who walked with him…he even touched those that walked past him. I pray that his family finds some peace. I hope that we, as a nation, can look on this angel lovingly…with respect to his memory.

The other thing I know is this:

Like George Zimmerman, Darren Wilson must learn how to live with the consequences of his actions. His family will have to learn how to move forward…for not unlike Zimmerman, Officer Darren Wilson will forever be known as the cop that shot that kid six times….dead. This will not be an easy process…it is not intended to be. I pray that Darren Wilson is also able to come to grips with the reality of his actions. It is my hope that we start setting more strict guidelines for our law enforcement officers. We are losing too many of our young black men and something must change.

As a mother, I can tell you that it wouldn’t matter to me if my child had been killed by a police officer, or a trash collector. A white man or an Asian woman. It would only matter that I have one less place to set for dinner.

There is probably nothing as strong as a mothers love for a child; I hope one day we can all learn to love in that way…intentionally. Let us not look at what happened in Ferguson as an incident…it is a pandemic.

This did not happen to a small town in Missouri…it happened to all of us; and it continues to happened all over the world. This is not a matter of them and us…no matter how the media portrays it. We must see ourselves through the eyes of our children, because they do not see race or religion. They do not see sex or money. Children only see each other for exactly who they are….which is why they smile and laugh all of the time.

We are not better; we are not worse…

We are Ferguson.

I Protest


I protest

 

  I think, growing up, I just believed that everyone lived as I did…in my own remote part of the world. I thought good would always prevail and that we would all love each other. I was raised to believe that we were all supposed to watch out for one another. When I moved out of my comfort zone, however, I learned that the “real world” was full of all of the things that I never fully understood. There were abundant injustices going on all around us. I found so many fingers being pointed in blame that very few people were coming up with viable solutions. I looked in desperation to find my path in all of this. It took me a minute to catch my bearings, but once I did…I began to protest EVERYTHING! No, I didn’t picket or camp out overnight. While those options raise awareness, they do not necessarily bring about change. I began speaking up and writing about the world and its social issues. I spoke up even when no one else seemed to be. I always understood that not everyone would see my point of view…but it did not deter my course. The only pointing that I ever wanted to do was the pointing out of injustices and wrongs that were occurring and re-occurring on a daily basis. It is not about the evil of man but the evil of his actions; since I have always been of the belief that man is inherently good.

  As I looked around me I saw a world filled with anger and void of humanity…or at least our actions gave that impression. I rarely saw people behaving in loving ways just for the sake of being loving; rather I saw people verbally and physically attacking one another just for the sake of the kill.

  The world is filled with people and while we live so far away from one another…we are amazingly similar. We may have cultural differences…but our human nature is very much the same. I found that for most of us, we can see other people’s situations clearly while still viewing ourselves through a thick London fog.

  For instance, we may chastise a parent for speaking harshly to a child while we are waiting in line at Wal-mart; yet we go home and do the same to our own children, within the confinements of our houses. What makes this any different? Is it okay to speak to your child or anyone else for that matter, anyway we choose as long as no one else sees or hears it? Is this a matter of us being too harsh about some one else’s behavior…or us not being harsh enough about our own? Is the shame in this, how people are reacting to us…or is it the fact that it occurred to begin with?

  All of this brings me to the purpose of my writing today…the writing topic of whether or not I have ever protested anything. I think that we all could find a cause or reason to speak out against one thing or another. We only need open our eyes and hearts to see a world full of people reaching out…reaching for understanding…compassion…and concern.

  Growing up I couldn’t imagine that I would ever be one of those people speaking out against anything…however growing up…I was unaware of the true evils of the world. I knew nothing about how people would use any reason to pray upon unsuspecting victims. People will verbally annihilate a person without giving them a second thought. For some reason…we began to view people as objects…numbers…or statistics. We failed to remember that we are talking about our fellow man…our brothers and sisters under God. I have watched people use other’s hardships and difficulties as ammunition. In this war of tongues, the true victor is easy to spot…because they aren’t crying. But at what price was this win? I have witnessed the laughter of evil at the expense of another individual. What would cause another person to rip at another person’s self-esteem like this? Pain… Pain causes us to strike out at people that we love and we will even strike at those which we do not even know. Tearing other people down, can temporarily makes others feel invincible…but it is just a bandage on an open wound. So the cycle continues…and it breeds anger and hate. It spreads faster than you can imagine…until suddenly, before you realize it, you are in the middle of it.

  I protest verbally about many things…and yes there are so many causes that there probably wouldn’t be enough time in my life time to do justice to most. So my protests are on the roots of the problem…otherwise we are tossing a blanket on what is wrong. I had to try and see what element was missing. What was the common denominator that linked all of these atrocities together? One day, the missing link became painfully obvious.

  I want you to try and bear with me on this though, because you might want to roll your eyes and shake your head when I tell you my solution. The determining factor behind every problem that we are faced with is that we do not love. We do not love ourselves and we do not love others. And ironically we will fall to our knees and pray to God for the things that we may think we want or need…yet question it when we do not receive them.

  I can explain my solution, because if it is left at that…the message may seem too basic. You are partly right though, love is basic. Love is the basis of everything we touch, see, and feel. Love is the basis of who we are.

  Love mends bridges; it does not blow them up. Love repairs relationships; with others and with Our Creator. Self love is important because it does not speak to our egos…it appeals to our hearts. Loving ourselves does not mean that we think that we are better than anything else…that is vanity and many people confuse the two. Love of self, includes how we take care of our bodies…which are temples…temples of God. Love of self is the way in which we verbally touch others…through kind and responsible speech. Love of self includes humility, respect, kindness, and gratitude which are exhibited in the way we act and react with others.

  Love is not divine judgment. And when I say that I mean, it is never our place to judge what we think, believe or expect what God Himself will judge. We are not in a position to say what God will or will not forgive. Keep in mind that while we might feel certain that a person’s sins or transgressions are something that God will judge harshly…in your moment of judgment…God is also judging you.

  We must always remember who we are…and our purpose. If we love one another…we are doing the work of our Creator. Loving people is what we were sent here to do. Yes, I know that it is not always easy…but then again if it was easy…we wouldn’t have so many books reminding us to do it. If we think back to childhood…we might remember that the most important lessons were not easy but painful. How many times did you have to be told to not touch the stove before you learned the lesson? Or did you learn a more powerful lesson the day that you touched it while it was hot? The burn was a painful memory, but it was far more effective than we may have realized.

  The painful lesson that we are being taught now is clear…when we do not love one another…chaos prevails. We find that we are in wars, our brothers and sisters struggle with famine and genocide, our Earth’s animals are being killed off, our oceans, rivers, lakes and streams are being polluted. We find justifications for treating people badly; blaming race, religion or various other diversifications. In fact, if we trace back every single horrendous deed done in history…we can see how love and understanding could have made it better.

  You may not know what my personal struggle is like…but you could try and understand. The important thing to remember is that understanding my plight…does not lessen yours. You and your life is just as important as mine is. You do not matter more or less depending on where you live or where you are from.

  I can love you a million miles away…and I can prove it by NOT condemning you. I can love you merely because you exist. I can love you for our similarities, as well as, our differences.

  I can love you…because with love…and God…All things are possible.

 

Building Bridges


   There are people that will come in and out of our lives…and while we may notice there absence, it is my hope that we will not miss the lesson in the experience. We are often saddened by the loss, whether it is through death or people just moving forward. It is my hope that with this we can eventually rally around what they contributed to our lives…be it something profound…or something as simple as teaching us to laugh at the things that don’t kill us. 

   Laughing at adversity allows us to own whatever the stimulus might be…it makes us pro-active instead of reactive. Most people consider reactions to mean we were caught off guard…where as being pro-active infers that we were always ready for anything that may come our way. It gives us strength in the eyes of others…and re-instills the ideas that we are blessed and highly favored. Who doesn’t feel more secure with the knowledge that we are not alone?

  Life can definitely send some jabs and upper cuts our way…but the question is simple…are we so busy trying to patch up the injury that we no longer are looking for the next blow? Did we learn the lesson? There are those people who just sit and wait for the opportunity to present itself…and the opportunity usually tends to be isolation.

   You may say that you aren’t isolated…but let’s re-examine that thought. You may be physically surrounded with numerous people…you have more contacts in your cell phone than most people get holiday cards from…but are you free of isolation? It’s is ironic that these people are called contacts…yet very few actually touch us.

   What is isolation? Generally speaking, isolation occurs when a person sets themselves apart or cuts themselves off from others. You might still think that you don’t do this…but do you? How many people on your contact list…are you truly touched by; keeping in mind that “contact” generally means the state or condition of touching?

   Do you isolate yourself from what happens around you? Do you turn off the news or ignore news articles about things that you find disturbing or negative? Many people do. It can be emotionally taxing to watch how others suffer everyday…perhaps looking the other way will allow us to go on with our day, at least. Who really wants to read or watch stories about homelessness, or crime? Who wants to hear day and day out about the famine in Horn of Africa…and who can bear to see those poor children dying? We have our own problems…and I do not think for one moment that people who think this way are callous or uncaring. They are human. But they are humans who have chosen to isolate themselves.

   Why do you think that so many people rallied around the recently executed Troy Davis? After all, he was found guilty of killing Mark MacPhail…why did he deserve any support? My best guess is this; Troy Davis…showed us that people are not expendable. I don’t think that anyone was supporting a murderer…they were supporting a human being. People gathered together by the groves…to unite for a common cause…to love their fellow man. Troy Anthony Davis woke people up. He made us look at our justice system with clarity…as if we had been walking around in a daze for centuries. Even if for just that moment…we didn’t want to isolate people. We actually wanted contact. We wanted people to know us…and us them.

  From this…conversations started…not just angry debates…but calm intellectual conversations. We started talking about everything! We wanted to know more. If you had a situation that was causing your frustration…I wanted to know about it. Your life began to matter to me. Even if for just one moment…we started remembering that we are supposed to love each other. Inadvertently, we began to “Occupy our Hearts”. The ice around our veins began to slowly melt. It was beautiful.

  Troy Davis reminded us that true justice will only occur when balancement exists. When the scales are tilted…it does not solve anything. He reminded us that only when we live in a society where we are not prejudged for some physical, financial, or religious difference will true justice happen.

  Ultimately, if we were to try and say that these biases do not exist…we are only further proving the fact that we are living in isolation.

  When this world was created…it was populated with living organisms that were molded to our Creator’s liking. We were chosen to live here…and we were chosen because we are all compatible. We can all live here harmoniously…if we so choose. Our problem has never been that we are not being able to love each other; the only problem is our own pre-conceived notions that we are better than another being. We are highly evolved creatures…we have learned how to communicate…we have invented machines to make life simpler. We have sent man and woman into space. We have raised children who would become future diplomats and literal geniuses. Yet we are the only living organisms that refuse to live together…without trying to destroy each other. There are millions of species of animals…that get along better than we do. And we will be the ONLY group of living organisms…who place themselves on the endangered species list. We would rather kill each other off into distinction than to learn how to live harmoniously.

  This is not the end of our story…but if we don’t make changes…it very well could be. Love life…make changes…say hello to someone you have never met. Hold a door open for a complete stranger…get to know your neighbors. Embrace your differences…you might learn something that will enhance your life. You may touch another person by just smiling at them. Encourage the conversation; offer each other loving solutions to a world full of problems. Take the initiative; it is what God has been waiting for all along. If we spend more time building bridges…we can spend less time building prisons.

Imagine


 Imagine what it would be like if we could love without borders. We weren’t separated by boundaries, or titles. All of our countries were nameless…our eyes oblivious to colors and hues of one another’s skin tones. The color and textures…styles and length of our hair was just thought of as a way to further beautify ourselves…and not used to identify our differences. Our accents could change depending on who we were speaking to…and every one thought that it was cool to be able to look and sound differently at a moments notice. Wouldn’t it be nice if religions had no control over how we treat each other? Or if we did not use our religions as reasons not to be kind or loving towards one another? Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world that taught its children to love EVERYONE, no matter who they were or what they looked like? Imagine that we never had to live in fear…that we could just love each other openly…without judgment. We could just concentrate on being kind and peaceful towards one another…without any ulterior motives.

 I know this may seem like a crazy fantasy to you…unrealistic. It’s okay for you to say it…often I have been told that my ideas of what mankind is supposed to be is a childish fantasy…something to be laughed at.

  But I have seen children, of different race, creeds and religion…just playing together. Not asking who or what they are…not shying from one or the other out of some unfounded fear. I watched them for hours before…listened to them giggling and swinging, climbing on playground equipment and going down slides, playing jump rope or four-square…doing nothing but being children. It made me think …how can they can do something that their adult counterparts have not learned how to do.

  And at that time a young girl , about 5 years old wearing a blue t-shirt and a pair of blue jean shorts with straight blonde hair pulled back in pony tails tied with blue ribbons came up to me and asked if I could help untangle the jump rope for her and her friend. I, of course, said I would be glad to…and asked which one was her friend. The little bright eyed beauty said the little girl with her hair in braids…the one wearing the red shirt. I told her that I still couldn’t see her…as there were a few children with that description. And she laughed and said…she’s the one wearing the leather sandals and is jumping up and down. It was at that moment I realized everything that I needed to know. The reason these children were able to live in harmony was because they didn’t realize their differences. That little blonde hair girl never once said to me that her friend was the little African-American girl with the braids, or the little Asian girl with the red shirt on…she was just a little girl with her hair in braids with a red shirt and sandals that was so excited about me fixing the jump rope that she kept jumping up and down. And how you might ask were these children able to play in harmony without racial discord, or religious indifference? They were able to do so, not because they were different than many of us were, at that tender age…but because they hadn’t yet realized that society doesn’t want them to love each other. The young minds hadn’t yet experienced hate due to race, religious views or geographic location. They didn’t think anything was wrong with playing with children who spoke with accents unlike their own…and there was even a child there who was unable to speak at all. And yet they still managed to communicate with one another…without frustration or biased views. They didn’t hold one another responsible for their parents not working…or for some terrorist attack…or because they had to go to bed at a certain time. They simply enjoyed each others company. They played and held hands…they chased each other, and if one accidentally fell, the others rushed to help them get up. It was simply not just the most perfect day I had experienced in a while…but it was enlightening. Enlightening because they showed me that the people who tell me that my vision for mankind…was  an unrealistic fantasy; these people had simply not experienced these young highly evolved beings…whose greatest fear was to be called away from play…to go home.

  The beautiful things that we need to know are all around us…we just need to remember to open our eyes…and my hope is that we do it before it is too late.

The Race is On


The Race is On

 

    What do you call it when a police officer can stop a driver of a car, for what ever traffic violation, and ask for verification of legal status in this country? What would you call it if I told you that if that individual didn’t have the documentation on his person, that he could be detained up to 48 hours, until further verification can be made?

 What would you say if I told you that it is not only a violation of the Fourth Amendment to detain anyone for the sole purpose of verifying immigration status, but also has never been required for Americans to even carry Government issued identification at all times.

What if I told you that if you gave a neighbor a ride to Wal-Mart, and got pulled over for a broken tail light, and your neighbor turned out to be an illegal immigrant…that you could charged with a criminal offense of harboring an illegal immigrant and charged up to $20,000 and sentenced up to 5 years in jail? I wonder what would happen if you were a taxi driver, or a greyhound bus driver, given those circumstances.

 What if you were told that as an employer that you had to E-Verify all employees if you have 10 or more, even if in the case of Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, the Federal Government explicitly told the Supreme Court that the E-Verify program was strictly voluntary, and any state requiring employers to participate is to be preempted by federal law?

  Welcome to Georgia’s Illegal Immigration Enforcement and Reform Act!!!!

   Let’s just call this what it is….RACIAL PROFILING. And now the state of Georgia, just like the state of Arizona has made Racial Profiling a part of their daily life.

 I mean, lets be real, how do I determine who to ask for legal status? What guidelines do I have to tell me who to ask and who not to ask; keeping in mind that it is all going in to a database?

 Racial Profiling is very real, and it is being used to cause further separation of our country from within its own borders. I am sure I don’t need to remind anyone that the United States was never anything but a giant sanctuary for immigrants…and now we are punishing people for doing just that.

 I can not determine if this is more frightening than it is sad, or vice versa. We can not continually stand firmly silent on issues that seriously undermine what this country was built on.

 I have often been told that my ideas of peace and love of my fellow being…is made up of  unrealistic hopes and dreams; but the truth is that is exactly what people come to this country for. Can you remember when this country stood on the premise that anything was possible here, because we live by the standard that we are an extremely diverse and accepting culture? What has happened to us? Why are we allowing the very government we created to dictate to us…and instill in us….fear? We fear what we do not know and instead of reassuring us; our government is infringing up on us…what an American REALLY is or is not.

  We are all diverse…we come from different cultures, societies, religions and beliefs. But when we lose track of the knowledge that WE ARE ONE…we all lose.

 

Please join me in asking President Obama to help put an end to Racial Profiling.

http://www.rightsworkinggroup.org/content/sign-petition-tell-obama-take-action-stop-racial-profiling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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