If you keep up with politics, especially Civil Rights issues, you have probably heard that Charlotte, NC, is convulsing with pain, righteous anger, and guilty fear.
There are many articles online about this. Here are two links to help you find out the basics.
I implore you, please don’t just pray. Please don’t light candles before going about your day. Don’t post a comment that your friends will respond to with support or disagreement until tomorrow comes.
Don’t sweep it under the rug. Don’t fret for a day and then forget that a large percentage of our nation lives with this everyday. Don’t throw your hands in the air and say, “There is nothing I can do. I don’t make any difference.”
Only we can make a difference. All of us, acting together, can make a difference.
For the sake of all you love, the lives of all you care about. For whatever gods or truths you follow. Do something.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper asking community leaders to gather, more than once, and begin a process to bring the community together in peace. Follow up on their response. Be a little pushy if they don’t respond. Let the paper know there was no response. If some respond, make sure the paper gets that information too.
- Write a blog post that shares actual news, not speculation or editorials. Use the basic old-style journalism rule: always have three unbiased sources. Invite community leaders, from all local communities, to post practical do-able suggestions. Let them be a little pie-in-the-sky. Hope and idealism are not bad things. Try to get people to read as much as they write; we must do both to learn anything new.
- Speak in front of your church, civic, professional, or other groups about the need to acknowledge that there are problems. Offer to organize a group to discuss how your institution can proactively do something to reach across the divide. Consider inviting other groups to get involved. There is power in numbers. Whether it is simply releasing a statement of support; inviting people whose opinions, however difficult to hear, need to be heard; or creating a study group to consider offering scholarships and jobs to people, it is a first step. Take it.
- Volunteer for a group that tries to bring justice and hope to everyone, because this trauma will only stop when we show love through our actions towards all people. Be especially alert to opportunities to bring people who don’t look alike or worship at the same places or live in the same parts of town under one roof.
- Break bread. It may seem old-fashioned, but sharing a meal is a strong tool to overcoming fear and bias. In all of this, listen more than you speak.
- Vote. Pick a candidate who supports peace, respect, and social justice among all people. Vote for that candidate.
I am weary of our lonely fearful reactions to others. I am tired of being asked to pray for those whose blood was spilled needlessly. I need to be able to read the news without wanting to scream.
I want peace. I am willing to work for it. I don’t know what will help, but something’s got to give.