I had a dozen emotions during yesterday’s OC Solidarity March. Watching people of all races, religions, and professions declare, “We will not allow hate to destroy our community” was more powerful than I could have imagined.
In the midst of all the anger and violence in the media, I can’t help but question what I can do to make a difference. A huge part of me thinks, “you are a white housewife in suburbia… you don’t have the authority to say anything about racial issues.” And that’s true in a broad sense… I won’t be spearheading any social media movements or writing laws to protect against unwarranted police brutality. But not saying anything, feels the same as agreeing with what has become the racial norm in our cultural.
And I don’t agree.
You know I think small things are actually big things. And in this case, the Small Thing was participating in the OC Solidarity March (hosted by COR), then talking with my kids about why the March was so important. (Read the OC Register’s coverage of the March here and here.)
I can’t change laws, but I can impact four children and their racial viewpoints. Four children who will become men and women, who will have children (I hope), and who will impact their children. Then maybe someday my great great great granddaughter will read this post and won’t even be able to understand the need for such a movement.
Our family began to have intentional conversations about race after the Charleston Church Shooting. (Passionate side note for my church-going friends: If the Charleston Shooting didn’t rock you and/or your church didn’t talk about the impact this should have on us as THE church… you should consider starting the conversation… or finding a new church.)
Before the OC Solidarity March my church gave some really great conversation starters and we used them before the March. Below is what that conversation looked like:
We read Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Then talked about what “as far as it depends on you” means. I used the analogy of a bully asking Eli to pick on someone. If Eli agreed then he would (obviously) be responsible for his actions. But what if Eli was just a witness to someone being bullied? Or if he knew someone was about to be bullied and didn’t step in? Would he be responsible… accountable… even part of the problem? Yes!
Then we talked about the recent shootings – law enforcement being shot and law enforcement shooting (specifically) unarmed black men/boys. We talked about the significance of law enforcement being at the OC Solidarity March. By showing up, they were saying, unwarranted violence won’t be tolerated here. We also compared the bully analogy in regard to law enforcement. If we see something that doesn’t seem right, even if law enforcement is involved, we should speak up, or record what is happening.
Finally, we talked about why it was important (and unique) that people from all religions were at the March and that we don’t have to agree with people, to live in peace with them. (Oh what a world this would be, if that one truth was realized more often!) 1 Samuel 16:17 says, “…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” We can be strong and secure in our faith without being hateful toward other religions. We prayed for people who are hurting because of what is happening in the world today.
One of the best parts of our talk was pointing out that although our community is diverse, church services aren’t! My kids had never noticed, not because they are “colorblind” (news flash, they aren’t) but because that’s the accepted social norm. That’s the way it’s always been… but it doesn’t always have to be that way in the future.
Overall, I wanted my children to understand that we saw a way we could to stand for peace, and we actually did it. We can be strong and secure in our faith without being hateful toward other religions. We prayed for people who are hurting because of what is happening in the world today.
The conversation was beautiful and I cried.
Why you won’t hear me say #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter
Just to be clear, this event was not for #BlackLivesMatter, the purpose was to show solidarity in our community. We are showing support and saying we desire harmony with public service departments, within the church and between races. But I feel like I should talk a bit about the different hashtags going around.
I’m not sure why, but the hashtags of #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter has never set well with me. Everyone can agree that all lives matter so it doesn’t really need a movement. And yes, blue lives DO matter… that’s why we pay for their guns and bulletproof vests. The birth of these two hashtags is akin to a childish comeback after a spat. A spat when you can’t think of a better rebuttal so you just say, “back to you.” Please, read my heart in this… I love law enforcement. LOVE. I trust them to protect me and do what’s best for the community. The Black Lives Matter Movement is something else entirely.
Some further reading…
- How to Talk to your Kids about Race
- For White People Who Believe in Black Lives Matter
- Seven Action Steps for Outrage – Justice for Trayvon