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.
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.
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.