It is 9:35 p.m., my son and I just finished watching the grand jury announcement regarding the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson. I must say I have mixed emotions about the announcements. Regardless of how I feel about the decision, I respect the process and realize the grand jury surely was under some extreme pressure.
The question I ask myself is now what?
As a Christian….
Now I grieve for the Brown family. I can’t imagine what this mother and father are going through right now. I appreciate their courage to call for calm and honor their son through peaceful protest. Now we should pray for them and not let “how we feel” about the decision or the response to the announcement cloud the fact that a mother and father are still on the long road of healing. God is quietly working in this thick darkness to reveal his healing light.
As a Father….
Now as an African American male and father, I work hard at being hard on my son because I refuse to have him be a statistic. I refuse to. Now my resolve becomes deeper to speak deeply into my son’s life for him to make decisions that enhance the longevity of his life. So, now fathers, my African American male fathers, square away your son, look him in the eyes, and dedicate yourself again to nurturing a man who will have a long life in the land.
As an African American….
Now I say to my non-African American friends and citizens, what you saw in August and the response that you see in many cities are the utterances of dissatisfaction. Martin L. King said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” African American people still have concerns about the justice system, incarceration, and police interaction. This perspective cannot be denied or swept under the rug. While riots function as the shouts of dissatisfied persons, now becomes the opportunity to stop, listen, and learn. Now take the time from your pulpits, in your workspaces, and in your homes to simply ask an African American, “What does it mean to live in America?”
As an African American to African Americans…
Now I say to my African American brothers and sisters, we are not less than human because of the grand jury announcement, problems in the justice system, or our current struggles. We are beautiful men and women with a victorious and difficult history in America. We are sons and daughters of Alphas, Omegas, and AKA, and Rho’s. We have ancestors who built colleges, designed Washington D.C., and established church congregations. We are the descendants of Civil Rights giants and musical genius. But more than that. We are men and women who have been fashioned in the image and likeness of God. He determines our value and worth. Neither a grand jury announcement, social condition, nor any other systems can rob us of the dignity that is inherent in all men and women.
In light of that reality of possessing and living as image bearers of God, let us be men and women of peace and communicate in a manner that demonstrates a passionate concern for ourselves and all people. We must learn to love and live together. We must love in way that teaches others who have no knowledge of our experiences to live sympathetically. We must love in a way that makes an enemy a friend and causes us to walk in the true spirit of justice which is mercy and forgiveness.