I know this is obvious. Of course black lives matter. All life matters. But today I stood on a snowy cold corner in my multiracial town of Montclair, NJ, and held this sign.
Why? Because I felt called to take a stand for all my friends, particularly my friends who are raising black sons and who fear for their children’s lives…not because these young men have done anything wrong, but these mama-friends know their kids are at risk simply because of the color of their skin.
Just one stat from the NAACP…
African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.
This is so unlike me to join a rally. I don’t like controversy. I’m a peacemaker. I always have been. I don’t like trouble. “I’m a lover, not a fighter.” I’ll speak with you directly…and you’ll know what I believe. You’ll know that I believe all people are God’s people, dearly loved, created in His image. And I’ll pray, oh yes, I’ll pray a lot, I’ll pray with boldness, I’ll pray with faith, I’ll take a stand in prayer.
But, in my 56 years, I have never felt led to rally publicly for anything. (Maybe I should’ve by now, but that’s another topic.)
My daughter, a bright-eyed bushy haired college student, speaks out for justice for all. And I’m proud of her, but she scares me. Will she go too far with speaking up? Will someone hate her for her love, for her passion, for her unwillingness to sit still and stand by quiet when she sees, feels, senses, experiences injustice? I pray for her protection. I don’t want her to ruffle feathers. But I guess human dignity is worth ruffling a few feathers.
And hers was the voice I heard this morning, this very gray icy morning.
“Some of the kids from the high school are holding a rally today…”
“Really? Because of Ferguson?”
“Well let’s go!”
She was surprised. She knows this is not like me. She knows I’d gladly sit home and pray while she stands on that corner, joining others signs and voices raised,
“Black Lives Matter!”
“Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!”
But today I joined this little group of mostly kids who stood out there in freezing rain. And I was encouraged by the many who beeped their horns in support. I was touched by the young teenager who asked what we were doing, and grabbed a sign to join us.
I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding the death of Mike Brown. Lots of discussions. Lots of violence…and way too much hate on all sides of the issue. There were a couple of hate mongers who passed by our rally too…I won’t dignify their words by repeating them.
But I also know a young man with promise is dead.
And that’s not okay…on any day.