Tears streamed down her face as she openly shared her frustration and grief about the back-to-back killings that had taken place one week ago.
And even though the authenticity of her emotions clearly displayed her social consciousness, my heart was unsettled.
Before me was something that I did not often see, but an act that I felt needed to happen more often: A white woman not only openly condemning police brutality against African Americans in America but genuinely and unapologetically speaking the truths of the lack of value placed on black lives.
Black men, women and children are humans.
Our lives have value, and she understood that.
The city was heavy with grief as it began to lay the officers to rest. Ironically, as I sat in a session about diversity & inclusion, President Obama spoke just minutes away about the acts of demented violence and racial hatred that those in my class tried to make sense of.
At one point, the instructor mirrored Obama’s “we are not as divided as we seem” rhetoric when she expressed how even through all this violence, photos of men and women hugging police officers gave her hope for our nation.
Still, my heart is uneasy and I am compelled to raise my hand.
I just want to say that while it is wonderful to see the support for police officers in the aftermath of these senseless killings, I’d also encourage everyone to not forget that seven people were killed—not just five. Where are the hugs for the black men’s mothers? Where is their outpouring of sympathy? America’s response to victims not only continues to show its biases but reinforces the sentiment that black lives are not as valuable as others.
My comments undoubtedly sparked an intense but productive conversation for the remainder of the course. One lady even openly thanked me for speaking the truth because, according to her, we have power when we speak the truth instead of being silent observers.
I left the class feeling refreshed with my new “truth teller” title.
The immense difference between the media (and public’s) response when a black person is killed versus a non-black person or a police officer is jarring. I really noticed this after the multiple unfortunate incidents, via news coverage, daily conversations, and even at work.
My office was silent when both black men were killed, but no one could stop talking about the police officers. They even setup a “RIP” tribute page on our internal internet to honor the fallen men in blue.
This really frustrated me and I felt it my duty to speak up and speak truth for ALL the victims.
But then I went to church (shout out to The Potter’s House!), and the Lord gave me a different perspective on the recent events.
The message was entitled “The Matchless Christ: The Unjust Justice” and the minister spoke about Christ, the attributes of Jesus, and His function that continues throughout the earth.
She urged us to live out the center of Christ, standing on His word as our foundational truth. And our foundation is bigger than gender, nationality, ethnicity, or race.
Two statements she made really hit home:
Christ is the act of doing and the state of being.
You cannot just work the cause and not have the Christ.
You see, if we look at the very core of who Jesus was (and still is), we will see His humility, and meekness, His love and heart of service.
The God of all creation stepped outside of Himself, put on lowly flesh and walked among mere humans so that He could one day save us.
And He didn’t just teach principles, He lived them.
In one of the most humbling examples of service, Jesus the Christ—the name exalted above every name—knelt down before his disciples and washed their feet.
Jesus didn’t just instruct us to “go this way,” He showed I AM the Way.
The minister explained how the gospel has social implications. Jesus was a “truth teller” and everything He did was to advance God’s Kingdom and bring people into the truth of the Father and His love.
Her words made me wonder am I really speaking truth in my advocacy of social justice?
Police have a record of violently discriminating against African Americans in this country. Fact.
Media outlets create sensational stories and often victimize the victim. Fact.
America has issues with race relations. Fact.
In spite of all the killings, tension, violence and hatred permeating our society, Jesus should be at the center of everything we do. Truth.
And Jesus, His Word, His behavior and His example are unchanging. Truth.
Dallas taught me many things, but what was most important was the truth. Yes, there is right and wrong when it comes to police brutality, Black Lives Matter, and race relations in America and it is our duty as Christians and socially aware Americans to advocate for justice.
But our advocacy must be rooted in truth, so then our approach can emulate Christ as we speak up about current events—truth telling with humility and meekness…displaying God’s love and a heart of service.