That stunning woman in mint is one of the most beautiful souls alive. This post isn’t really about her, but it completely is. You’ll understand why, soon.
I did a dumb thing today: I hopped on a thread written by a child of a police officer who was saying All Lives Matter and questioning why it has to be exclusive to #blacklivesmatter — the dumb part was that it became three white women arguing and one of us was defending BLM. I think it’s pretty easy to guess which one I was.
Look, I’m letting you know right now, stop reading if you aren’t prepared to do it calmly. Seriously. I’m not writing this one to rile everyone up. This comes from that place of pain that the whole world is feeling right now. Please choose to read the rest of this post with that in mind.
I believe Black Lives Matter. I stand with the thin blue line.
Those sentiments are not mutually exclusive. I know SO MANY good men and women who protect and serve their communities and I love them dearly. I also have known some equally incredible men and women of color… One stands out among the rest.
Mrs. Reid — she was my music teacher in elementary and junior high school. It was either in the fourth or fifth grade that she went from being only my choir teacher to my piano and voice teacher as well. That woman has such a way with
children people. I SWEAR she could silence 600 of them with a raised eyebrow. She has since become my dad’s choir director and he can confirm, she’s a no nonsense kind of lady. She’ll slap you (probably not, but she’ll make you think it). And I’m refraining from swearing in this post on the off chance she reads it because she’ll beat me senseless if I do. The respect runs that deep to this day.
She always instructed us to sit up straight, keep our hands in our lap, never speak out of turn. She never wore the same thing twice in a year. In fact, I’m not sure I saw her wear the same thing twice in a full six years of being her student. She wore the most beautiful clothes that were true to her African culture.
It had to have been before I turned 10 that she told my class the most harrowing story I’ve ever heard. I’ll never forget it: She was getting ready for her sweet 16 birthday party. Back in the 60’s, your sweet 16 was a huge deal. But something happened.
Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.
Instead of seeing her friends eagerly arrive at her home to celebrate her, she watched tanks roll through the streets of her hometown. She had to stay inside. It was the 60’s after all.
You will never once hear me exchange any word in #blacklivesmatter — never. It is because of that story. It HAUNTS me. That woman helped raise me and she lived a reality not a single human alive deserves. Let’s not forget that there needed to be legislation written to make those with her skin color a person and not a slave. The meme running around social media about how Jesus said “Gentile lives matter” or “women’s lives matter” is, objectively, getting annoying to see, but it’s true. We might be equal in the eyes of God, but Jesus understood that humans needed some help with that concept.
JESUS GOT IT: UNTIL THE TRULY MARGINALIZED MATTER, NO ONE DOES.
Saying Black Lives Matter is not saying that only black lives matter. Not even a little bit.
Now take a deep breath and hear me out. In that exact same breath I’m going to say this: everyone is hurting right now. Everyone. Black, blue, white and every other color you can imagine. Everyone is angry. And I think it’s completely fair to say that everyone shares the same fear.
Husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters… they’re all hugging their loved ones a little tighter and praying just a little harder that it’s not their last goodbye. I think they all know the one truth of the world: evil knows no color.
So what was the point of me sharing the story of Mrs. Reid? It only happened 48 years ago.
This is not the world Martin Luther King dreamed of. Not yet. It could be. It SHOULD be. We all need a lot more empathy for each other in order to get there. And it NEEDS to start with us (white people) affirming that there remains a marginalized group that needs us to support them and STOP saying they already have the equality they’re begging for.
Someone in that original thread I mentioned said, “both sides of this have rightful fears, it’s just important to not let those grow into the violence we see take place. When you place yourself in the other sides position, it gives one an opportunity to engage in Christ-like empathy and understanding. Each side simply wants the justice, safety and natural rights we are taught we are born with.”
So I stand with the thin blue line. That is forever how I’ll say it. I simply adore the police officers and their families I have the honor of knowing. I like to think they know this. I’m pretty positive they do.
I’m just as sure they’ll understand why I believe it’s so important for me to adamantly be the shoulder for both sides to cry on.
Isn’t that why I have two?