Caring About Black Lives
To be honest I’m not the kind of person to be “phased” by tragedies happening to others. Of course I feel sad and sympathetic towards those who lost a loved one, but I just feel distant from it all. For example, when Kobe died I was shocked and saddened, but I didn't grieve his death like so many others. I thought about it momentarily and was reminded of it continually through the media, but at the end of the day I continued living my life and thanking God for the privilege to see another day. I think this sense of apathy comes from being too busy and caught up in my own world, and it’s just plain wrong. It’s not that I didn’t care, I just didn’t care enough to take the time to really stop and absorb what’s going on. To reflect on the situation and to imagine the heartache and suffering that so many families and friends are going through. I also believe I’ve been getting numb to all the tragedies inundating the Black community. It’s especially dangerous when the incidents are spread out over a few weeks—just long enough to forget about the last one. These stories we are hearing about aren’t just STORIES, scandals, or gossip. These stories are sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, and majority of the time, these “stories” are INNOCENT. These stories are lives. BLACK LIVES, AND THEY MATTER!
Another factor influencing my apathy was the fact I was simply hearing or reading about what was taking place. When I heard about Ahmaud, a young black man who was said to be jogging near his home get shot dead; I couldn’t believe it. I thought that it was tragic but again, I didn’t take the time to really understand what was going on. I simply heard a “story”, felt sorry for him and his loved ones and kept it moving. What I have realized over the course of this week is that there is a huge difference between hearing a sad story and seeing a sad story unfold. Something heart wrenching happens when you see it. Well...I wish I could unsee it. It was traumatizing, heartbreaking and it made me sick to my stomach. The recent video of the murder of George Floyd depicts a horrific and racially driven crime. And as devastating as it is, and as difficult as it was to watch, it needs to be seen. It was the slap in the face many of us needed. It was the revelation that “racism isn’t getting worse, it’s just being filmed”. This has been an issue since the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the lynching of young Black boys, the massacres of Black communities, the assassinations of Civil Rights activists, the beating of Rodney King, and the death of Trayvon Martin. Countless lives have been stolen at the hands of racism, oppression, and white supremacy.
When will it be enough? How many lives must be lost? How many families must grieve? People are seriously hurt, angry, and taking a stand. Riots are breaking out and things are chaotic, but what did you expect? As much as I’m not surprised this is happening...I’m disappointed. Like Martin Luther King explained (and the bible) darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that! Hate cannot drive out hate, only LOVE can do that. We must not let bitterness and anger take over. Most black parents tell their children they have to be 2X better to be chosen for that job/ position/ team over a white person. Quite frankly it’s true and right now I am reminding you that as a black person, you need to BE BETTER. Not because society or parents said so, but because Jesus did! He was whipped and tortured nailed to that cross, stabbed so he could bleed to death. Experiencing all of that suffering and yet, as he hung their on that cross he said “Father forgive them…” We need to take that lesson and apply it today. Do not stoop down to that level; instead rise and be victorious through your righteousness. It is possible to find justice for these precious lives, but it should not come at the loss of another life. It will not come through destruction, pain and rebellion. It takes REAL STRENGTH and REAL LOVE to forgive. Although I urge us to forgive, we will certainly not forget! Those lives were not lost in vain.
We need to take progressives steps forward towards real change, and I truly believe it is coming. So many non-black people are speaking out to raise awareness, so many influencers using their platforms to take a stand. The way that so many diverse cultures are coming together to fight against racism is a huge step forward. The mere fact the officers were charged with murder and manslaughter is an extremely significant result that has never happened before. We must celebrate and continue to press on TOGETHER. Engage in the peaceful ways to protest: sign petitions, donate to the cause, speak out and teach your family and friends about white privilege, racism, prejudice and any other systemic injustices. But when the sensationalism in the media fades, we cannot become numb again, we must continue to speak about the systemic and institutionalized racism, oppression, and the many other forms of injustice and inequity in our society. Now that we’ve taken a stand, we must continue to walk forward. We must do our part to make a positive impact on this world. We must love thy neighbor and show respect, kindness, and consideration for those around us for each and every shade under the sun!
Mariah Faith <3