Before reading this blog…click on this few seconds of a July 7 news clip…please.
Thank you for viewing!
Just 20 minutes before the first young woman in this news story stood before the WZZM-TV camera, I met her in the Division Avenue Family Dollar store. She and her friend were buying poster boards and markers.
Outside the store, she was making this poster on the hood of her car. It read..
As I passed by, looking a bit curious at what she was writing, she said, “You stand for justice?”
“Yes,” I said. Giving me a “high five” she said, “That’s what we need.”
Her simple sign could not have been more timely.
Just two hours later, the networks were ablaze with Breaking News updates on the killing of five Dallas Police officers and the wounding of people caught in the cross-fire.
“There’s going to be a war,” my wife, who is from Uganda, said, shaking her head at the television. “When I came to America, I never thought this country would be like this.”
She came to the USA in 2007, days before candidate Obama came to town and she and our son were in the arena, here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was the night John Edwards endorsed him. What hope was in the air! What an event for my son, a young black man, with all his dreams and life ahead of him, to witness first hand. History in the making.
And now, how different the atmosphere…and how that hope, while still there, is muted by events punctured by bullets are delivered into our homes as “Breaking News.”
What a simple poster, I thought as I saw the young woman scribbling it on the red poster board. But now, how true it has become. That poster says it all.
Yes, the time IS now.
Right then and there, watching the TV, I muted it and took the time…you know…that “teachable moment” to do again “The Talk” with my 12-year-old son. Just in case he wasn’t listening the first time, the night Treyvon Martin was killed.
Time he learned just how to act when approached by a police officer. Like, NEVER start running. Like standing where his hands can be seen at all times. Like following all the orders from the officer, answering only directly to the questions asked. My son, who likes to say, “Yes, but…” no matter what the topic is, especially when it comes to defending his behavior. Like all teens, he wants to make his point. Exactly the kind of thing that will get him cuffed or shot.
It’s time too, while exercising our freedom of speech, to hold our tongue, just for a moment…and start that conversation within ourselves. To talk to our souls and to learn to listen what’s going on inside us…and where whatever we are about to say or do is coming from, honestly, wherever and whatever that might be.
It’s time to walk, march, speak out, carry a sign, show up or shut up. Time to know now is the time … for tomorrow is too late for somebody. For us. For our cities. For our families. For our nation.
It IS time, long overdue, to speak into the future…to shape what IS to come – for that future and what it will be like for my son and his younger brothers to follow.
The point is will we/they be shaped by the future or will we and they shape their future and all those in their generation and those to follow.
It’s time we know and believe we were born into THIS time for a reason, a purpose, to bear witness and to bear each others burdens and tears and worries every time one of our kids or husbands or wives goes on the street and gets in a car and shops and even goes to church, temple or mosque, shopping mall, theater, rally, school, ball game, or wherever normal life requires or interests us.
So, again, I pull up that TV interview with the young woman, and ran it over and over on my computer screen, with her words, which perhaps sums it up for all of us, just now, today, “I don’t have a solution…I’m just tired of this!”