Peace, My People

So much is going on in the world, big and small. Friends, loved ones and colleagues are reeling from politics, surprise separations, health challenges, financial struggles, job transitions and so much more. I don’t recall my prayer list being this long in a long time. Like for real. In the midst of it all, I thank God for His word which promises peace. I will let my Lord and Savior speak to and comfort us instead. I’m so grateful for God’s word, now more than ever.

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Rest in Peace Mike Brown. Live in Peace America.

I arose this morning to the nightmare that is Ferguson, Missouri, USA. The same horrific scenes, seemingly picked from the director’s cut of a high-budget, Sci-fi thriller that I went to bed with are still being repeated and replayed on the morning news and news feeds. Perspectives of varying natures are running as rampant as the looters, the frantic reporters and teargas dodgers, all of whom, have something to say about what happened… or didn’t happen. All the while, this is nestled under the backdrop of a family in mourning and a country in a deeply rooted, boiling over, smoldering, centuries old crisis-come-to-pass.

I wasn’t going to blog about the life or death of Mike Brown, or why black lives matter, why I believe all lives matter, or what I think is the “matter” with law enforcement, or how I feel about the foundation (or shoulders) on which this country was built until I read a Faceboook post which said “enough praying”. Huh? What? Who? Us? Never. And if ever…NOW!

So I pulled, and edited an excerpt from a post I wrote called “The Truth About Trayvon” expressing my feelings about Trayvon Martin, which unfortunately, still sums up my point of view regarding the tragic death of Mike Brown, and the madness which has sadly ensued.

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I pray that we never forget that it’s God that has the final say so. I pray that the only fires we ignite are ones that bring about an end to senseless violence. I pray we all respect life as much as we expect others to respect it. I pray social media and mainstream media don’t cease covering stories like this until stories like this are no longer around to cover. I pray we champion another cause, and another cause and another cause like Mike Brown’s and bring it to the attention of those in authority. I pray we really learn how to bring about long-lasting, effective change.  I pray we don’t become consumed with rage or fear, but use this as fuel to move this nation forward in the spirit of the civil rights activists who transformed our land’s landscape. I pray we stop the “snitches get stitches” or “loot where you live” rules. I pray we don’t turn a blind eye or deaf ear to any stories of mass murders, shooting sprees, school killings, kidnappings, black-on-black crime, white-on-white crime, brown-on-brown crime or any other color of crime for that matter. I pray we never stop fighting for justice and learn to celebrate the victories that have been accomplished, even as we fight for the victories that remain. I pray we no longer take one another for granted, that we hug a little longer, talk a little longer, truly become invested in each other’s lives as a reminder of how essential we are to one another. I pray we use our voice and our vote to stand up for EVERY single life lost, not contribute to lives being lost and not become desensitized or discouraged by the overwhelming amount of lives lost, or any injustice. I pray we don’t give up hope in the good that remains in most people. I pray we don’t operate in judgment or stereotypes, regardless of the color spectrum with which our hue rests. I pray we realize that there are people who look like us that don’t like us and people who don’t look like us who love us, regardless of our race, and not contribute to further building the wall of division and destruction. I pray we become more media savvy, more legally savvy, and more involved in order to do what we need to do to learn how to keep a story alive, and see a case to justice if needed. I pray we learn how to articulate our frustrations through effective open forums, workshops, mentoring, seminars, symposiums, community service, legislation and plain ol’ conversations with each other. I pray we talk about race, really talk about it, with hopes of greater understanding and that in those talks we realize not all people who aren’t like us are against us and get to know each other since we’ll all be here together for as long as we’re here. I pray we don’t forget about the families who have to live after death. I pray we don’t forget to pray for Mike Brown’s family, or Trayvon Martin’s family, or Keveland Wood’s family (my high school sweetheart who was shot in the head by another black teen in 1989), or the Williams family who helped raise me and lost a young man at the hands of the law, or my two best friend’s and their families who both lost their brothers, murdered at the hands of others who looked like them. I pray we remember all the families of others tragically killed at the hands of police or peers as they deal with life “afterwards”. I pray WE PRAY more than ever before, knowing also that faith without works is dead. And once we’re done praying I pray we get up, get out and at least let those men, boys, babies, women and girls who have lost their lives live through our actions, honorable enough to bring about a positive change in us all.

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So to the notion of “enough praying” my response is “not ever, and certainly not now.” Rest in Peace Mike Brown. Live in Peace America.

peace

@AngelaMMoore316

9/11: An Ode to America

Dear America,

Today you mark a day which many will never forget. September 11 is a day scarred by the most cowardly act of external violation on your precious soil. Lives were murdered. Fear ran rampant. You were forever changed, but still out of that utter darkness came rays of hope. September 11 is a day, now of service and commemoration, as your people do what they’ve been known to do, and that’s do their best as flawed humans to snatch the good out of the worst situations.

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Really, in retrospect, America, that’s been the overriding story of your existence. The worst comes, even if you create it yourself, and inadvertently brings along the best with it. Whether it be from your founding fathers who made the trek across the sea to settle as they fled their version of oppression, to those same founding fathers implementing a terrible, new-fangled form of oppression called slavery, which, in all of its horrificness birthed a people so strong, so proud and so resilient, some good always comes. Whether it be from the earlier wars on your own land and those battles you fought abroad which robbed some of their very lives and others of their civil rights, then simultaneously brought forth life-changing creations, needed innovation, profitable partnerships, strong minority and women leaders, social and civil rights movements and irrevocable change, some good always comes. Even today you struggle with the struggle to be good in the midst of so much badness. Brutality and corruption, mass murders in malls, theaters and on school campuses, heated racial and immigration issues, hunger, faltering education systems, political tomfoolery, homelessness, poverty, a burgeoning identity crisis, and those ever-present “haters” plague you, hurt your people and taint your image, and still good always comes. Your people are benevolent, America. They give. They help. They rally. They challenge. They sacrifice and support. They break down demographically placed barriers to gather together in the midst of dark times. They have the right to freely speak and they do. They worship (if they so choose) at will. They are slowly beginning to develop community across color lines. They spread your love abroad to those in need. (May I also say that your food is delish. Your arts, athletics and entertainment is world-renown, and widely respected and your landscape is a Masterpiece). They are by no stretch of the imagination a perfect people, as you are certainly not a perfect place. I suppose they get it honestly, but they are all you have and for every “wrong one” I see glimpses of more and more “right ones”. The world seems to always take notice of you and yours, in awe, and sometimes in envy, because from Americans, some good always comes.

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Many have spoken ill of you, America. I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings, but it’s not just outsiders. It’s often your own family too. As for me, listen, I get the fact that you’re just a big ol’ mass of land with people dealing (or not dealing) with their own mess. I don’t expect you to be perfect, but I do expect you to always work to be better. I get that in life, as also on this land, it is what it is until we ALL become better. And I’m daring enough to believe that just as you’ve come through so much more you’ll make it through this too, with good coming along for the ride, of course.

Outside of Heaven there’s no place I’d rather be. It would be easy for me to become disgruntled, to take you for granted or to compare you with places I’ve never even been, but I realize I was hand-picked to be here through my long lineage of mostly African, with a hint of European and Jewish ancestors. I am you and you are me, and we’re going to stick this thing out and work these things out until the end.  So on today, September 11, 2015, I want to remind you, in case you needed a virtual hug, that I’m with you, America. When I say “God bless America” I mean it. I pray for you and believe the best in you and for you. I “got” your back, and will do my part to keep it straight.

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Signed,

Angela Moore

Proud to be an American