We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters…
Words can be difficult at times. I’ve written this several times over and hope it comes out in some meaningful way.
Over the last 10 days, I have seen George Floyd die at the knee of a police officer. I have seen peaceful protests in response, but I have also seen rioting, looting, destruction, and violent confrontations. This week, I saw a peaceful protest in our nation’s capital broken up with tear gas and rubber bullets for no real reason.
I’ve seen it. We’ve all seen it.
As violence escalated on Friday in Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms responded to the crisis, in part, “We are better than this! We are better than this as a city! We are better than this as a country!”
I appreciated her words at the time, and I still do. Part of me believes them to be true, while another part can’t help but wonder…
If we are better than this, we must do the hard work of real conversation and reconciliation. If we are better than this, we must address the systemic racism that plagues us as a country. If we are better than this, we must work to build relationships and understanding across racial, economic, and other demographic divides.
No one can do that for us except us, and we will be known by our fruits.
The title of this post comes from a quote from The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He said, “We must learn to live together as brothers, or we will all perish together as fools.”
Amid the chaos I’ve seen in these days, I’ve also seen signs of hope that we can learn to live together as brothers and sisters. I’ve seen police chiefs and other officers stand, kneel, and/or walk with protestors, in Minneapolis, Flint, Houston, Brooklyn, and other places. I’ve heard real conversation going on in the streets. I saw demonstrators and police in Atlanta embrace at the end of one night of protests. To top it off, this afternoon I saw protestors and police dancing together to the “Cupid Shuffle” in Carrollton, Georgia. I’ve seen all this, too, and I hope to see more.
To quote Francis and Amos, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amen.