My best friend said, “No one is saying this boy was in the right. What we are saying is the response was wrong.”
LaNiesha and I were texting Tuesday morning about the continued injustice in the Michael Brown story. Not only did this young man lose his life, but now people are taking to Facebook and Twitter to justify his untimely death.
I checked Facebook in the morning and was completely disturbed by what I was reading. I text LaNiesha and said,
“I can’t be on Facebook right now. People are saying RIDICULOUS things. There was a horrendous injustice and people are justifying wickedness and the death of a young man who should still be alive. People have simply written “pray for Ferguson” and the comments in reply spew a violent ignorance that reminds me we need to pray for the renewing of minds and the softening of hearts. There is a lack of compassion in people’s responses and a lack of reality of the VIOLENT prejudice that is perpetually practiced against black men and women. It’s disgusting. And in order for me to remain in compassion for even the ignorant, I HAVE to stop reading their words and turn to the Word. This is madness and people are just calling it ‘the way it is’ or worse, they’re denying that this man losing his life is an injustice and wickedness playing out against a specific group of people.”
I drove to work refusing to read anymore of the nonsense that was being spoken. It didn’t feel good, it made me feel foggy and confused. But I got to work and she had posted my text. It made me realize that the Martin Luther King Jr. quote that has been popping up on various social media newsfeeds was what needed to be done. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”
My silence would be darkness. My own judgments of others’ ignorance would be hate. I needed to speak, but what? How could I say anything that would not promote anger or violence or the ridiculing of others?
I had read people saying the cop did his job, I saw countless people justifying this young man’s death by pointing out the young man’s transgressions. Not only were people heralding a case for Michael Brown to take responsibility for his actions, but there was an implication that he must also take the weight of responsibility off Officer Darren Wilson. And as LaNiesha text me to say it was the response that was wrong, a love inside me welled up for her sons, Myles and Daniel.
I’m in love with these boys. To them I am Auntie Rachel (well, Daniel likes to call me Raysho with his amazing smile and bright eyes). To me, they are the closest thing I have to my own kids. They are my insight into the world that I would not have without them.
As I thought of those two boys I said to LaNiesha,
“Tell Myles and Daniel to be careful while walking black. Let them know they need to be perfect because any mistake they make in their life justifies their death. Tell them they have to fear cops who don’t respect them simply because they are just doing their job. Tell them they’re already guilty and their whole lives they have to prove their innocence …”
I began to cry at the thought of how people are so deceived right now and how they’re speaking from darkness. I continued,
“And tell them that I love them and will always fight for them. Tell them Auntie Rachel will not be silent when a boy who looks like them is needlessly slain. Tell them that I know they are going to change the world because though they live in this world they are not of it. And though 10,000 may fall at their right or left, they will go unharmed because the Lord has plans to prosper and not to harm them, plans for a hope and a future. Tell them they are beautiful and their skin does not define them but it is an intricate and important part of their earthly identity. Tell them they can be angry at injustice but never act unjustly. Tell them they can cry over death but not wish it on anyone. Tell them they are black and that is nothing to walk around in shame over.”
Injustice lies in the hands of those who remain silent. Cry out to the God of justice, make your petition known to the One whose thoughts are above ours and whose ways are beyond our human comprehension. Speak up for the ones whose voices are silenced.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” So put on your armor, brothers and sisters, “the kindom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Let us turn to our spiritual weapons and tear down the strongholds of injustice, death, deception and darkness that have pervaded throughout the generations.