Where do we go from here?

I can’t breathe…
I’m through…
My stomach hurts…
My neck hurts…
Everything hurts…
I need some water or something, please…

Those are the last words of 46-year-old George Floyd on May 25, 2020, when he was held by policeman Derek Chauvin on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store.

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’re likely familiar with the various details that lead to this murder so I won’t recount them here.

I’m not sure if it was ever validated if the $20 bill that George used was actually counterfeit or not but frankly that isn’t the point or the crux of the problem.

The problem and cause for the outrage, sadness, and protest are because:

Unfortunately, George Floyd isn’t the first to have his life taken by those who are sworn to protect and serve.
  • In July of 2014, Eric Garner used the same last words as he was also pinned to the ground by New York City police officers.
  • Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Eric Reason, Bothan Jean, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, and the list goes on and on where police officers failed to preserve life. 
Of course, police officers have an extremely hard job and often have to make split-second decisions especially if they feel their lives are in danger. 

There are far too many cases where black Americans are brutalized or killed by law enforcement, who rarely if ever face consequences for their actions. 

Again, unfortunately, we also have plenty of data where non-black mass murders have been more likely to have their day in court than blacks who are suspects for far lesser crimes.
  • On August 3, 2019, Patrick Crusius killed 22 people and wounded more than 2 dozen when he opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas saw his day in court on Sept. 12, 2019. He was indicted on capital murder charges.
  • June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof committed a mass shooting in a church in Charleston killing 9 people. During his arrest, officers not only provided him with a bulletproof vest for his protection but someone also made a run to Burger King to get him something to eat.
We long for justice to be served. Many understand that not all officers are bad. We need the bad cops to be held accountable, fired, and prosecuted rather than coddled and put on administrative leave.

What can I do?

For my anglo friends:

We appreciate your words and support and now we must have action behind those words. You don’t necessarily have to march in protest.

Long term change will only take place through relationships.

Take a look at the people you surround yourself with the most and diversify that group. Get to know people who aren’t like you and don’t shy away from people that even disagree with you.

If you looked at your social media accounts, many of you will find that you live in a virtual echo chamber where everything you already think about a subject is being reverberated back to you so that it looks like your entire world is in agreement.

"My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger…" James 1:19 CSB

Earnestly, seek to do life with people that don’t look like you, don’t act like you and come from a different background than you and get to know them.

In Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, the 5th habit is Seek First to Understand, Then Seek to be Understood.

As much as some of us would hate to admit it, we don’t know everything and don’t always have all the facts and background necessary to see the whole picture.

Have you ever been in a conversation where the person you’re speaking with assumes your position and either pretends to listen or selectively hear? They end up completely missing the point because they’re too busy waiting for you to stop talking so they can rebut. Most people, even in general conversations listen with the intent to reply and not to understand.

Speak out against racism!

As you learn and become more empathetic to the plight of those who are different than you, see and acknowledge racism and microaggressions that take place and condemn it swiftly.

Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret. Ephesians 5:11-12

Once people in your tribe realize this unacceptable in our society they’ll either change or retreat to the hole they came from. 

We should boldly speak against racism just as we boldly speak against abortion, abuse, drugs, sexual immorality and etc.

For my black friends, we’ve got work to do as well.

I know you tired and exhausted from having this conversation for so long. I pray that we’re at a tipping point where non-blacks are now seeking how egregious these societal ills are.

As best you can, have conversations with those who want to listen and earnestly want to do better. 

Do so transparently without assigning blame.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted. Galatians 6:1

Let them hear how your experiences have affected you as a person (human being) and how it has affected your family.

While we can acknowledge the reality of systemic racism in our land it cannot be used as an excuse for you not to be great. 

There is a litany of historic examples where black people have refused to be confined by the barriers of racism and Jim crow.
  • People like James McCune Smith, who was the first black man in America to earn a medical degree in 1837 and opened the first black-owned pharmacy.
  • Madam CJ Walker was the first documented self-made female millionaire. Not just a black woman but first woman through her cosmetics and hair care company.
  • There are so many more to name like Alvin Ailey, Maya Angelou, Shirley Chisholm, Charles Drew, Jesse Owen...
Each of these people pursued their goals and dreams despite the obstacle. Many of you aren’t going to like this but it needs to be said.

Not everything that happens to you is because of racism. This is because not everyone who is non-black is racist. 

It’s like a hammer salesman who sees every problem is a nail. 

Those who paved the way for us throughout history didn’t allow themselves to be victims of their circumstances.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

True greatness cannot be stifled or contained.

There is so much more that could be said. I just wanted to start this conversation.

I know that it’s been cathartic for me and I hope that it gets your gears turning as well. Let's continue this conversation and ensure that George Floyd is not just another hashtag.


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