It was heartening to see so many people gathered for the vigil in Lancaster yesterday. I couldn’t hear the speakers very well–my ears have trouble sorting sound–but I caught bits and pieces, and I could see that people were deeply moved by the speeches. Afterward, a young black woman stood up on one of the benches and gave an incredibly powerful performance of poem. I was glad to see colleagues and students there, as well as many folks from Mennonite churches and the local peace and justice organizations.
Black Lives Matter
Don’t let that threaten you.
That doesn’t mean that yours doesn’t, too.
It’s a way of saying that black people should get an equal portion of protection and peace at this great big banquet table.
It means that a traffic stop should be a traffic stop. Routine. “Oh yeah, Officer, I forgot to put my inspection sticker on there. I’ll do it as soon as I get home.” And a “There you go, Son–just a warning this time, but you go home and fix it up right now, or next time I’ll have to give you a fine.”
Not a broken-tail-light, I’m afraid you’re going to shoot me, so the demon of terror-of-young-black-men pulls my trigger and kills you in front of your lover and a child.
When that has become the routine, it’s time for some big words on a page, easy to read, easy to speak, easy to call out at a rally: Black Lives Matter.
Of course yours matters, too. That’s a given. We know that all lives do.
Let’s just focus on keeping the black lives alive for a while, okay?
Then when it looks like all lives truly DO matter here,
then we’ll go back to saying that all of them do.
When it’s true.
1. Communities rallying to say to stand up for Black Lives. Please don’t let the momentum stop here, don’t let Philando Castile and Alton Sterling become quiet footnotes. Say their names. Believe so deeply that all lives matter that you can walk with those whose lives are threatened and anxious because of the color of their skin. Black Lives Matter.
2. Good conversation with a dear friend.
3. Looking forward to several days with my college friends. They ground me and help me to re-situate myself in the long timeline.
4. The way the light shone over the ridge as I was driving home last evening. The sparkle on the fields. A different sort of evening sparkle than we get in the hollow.
5. Exploring semantic implications. Words. Meanings.
May we walk in Beauty!