I won’t stay at home tomorrow, even though I’ve never joined a protest of any kind, and never marched for a cause, the time has come to protest in peace.
This post is part of the Five-Minute Friday quick write hosted by Kate Moutang. Join us each Thursday night on Twitter (#FMFParty) for fun and fellowship, then grab a pen and start writing when the prompt goes live!
A Lesson I Don’t Want to Teach
“Whatever you do, if the police stop you, remember to act with respect. Stay where you are and don’t run.”
“What if they stop me for no reason,” a student replied. “That’s stupid and why should I respect them?”
“Good question,” I replied. “I don’t have the answer. But I do know that if you value your life, you need to act compliant. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people judge you by the color of your skin.”
“That’s jacked up,” I heard someone mutter under their breath.
“Yes, it’s totally jacked up. It’s not fair that the police will probably never stop me unless I speed or commit some traffic violation. And it’s not fair that they might stop you for any number of random reasons based on the fact that you’re Native.”
We had this difficult discussion one day after the news of a Native woman being shot to death by police in the neighboring community. She suffered from a mental illness and held a pair of child’s scissors. When the police asked her to stop, she walked towards them. The officer felt threatened and immediately fired his weapon.
The events of the past months have only highlighted the pernicious racism woven into the fabric of our lives. Violence of any kind is horrible. But institutionalized violence against Blacks and Native Americans is especially heinous.
To Stay at Home Doesn’t Feel Like an Option
I want to stay at home tomorrow and feel outraged over racism. But I can’t. I can no longer stay home and stay complacent, satisfied that I am not, personally, a racist.
Tomorrow I will put on my mask (because of COVID-19, not because I want to arrive incognito) and join a peaceful protest calling for changes in our law-enforcement system. The #8cantwait movement calls for immediate changes in police department policies as well as training in de-escalation.
Law-abiding citizens should never have to fear a police cruiser or a police officer. Sadly, that fear lodges in the heart non-white people regardless of their socioeconomic status or education.
If police forces adopted these rules, Loreal Tsingine would still be alive. So would George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and thousands of other minorities who have died at the hands of police. And then maybe people like Ahmaud Abrey’s killers and the Central Park jogger wouldn’t feel they have the impunity to warp justice to fit their whims.
I can stay silent no longer. Re-sharing posts on Facebook and fending the racist comments they produce exhausts me. And it’s not enough.We have our marching orders. What will you do to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly this week? #fmfparty #blacklivesmatter #socialjustice Click To Tweet
So tomorrow I will not stay at home. I will protest peacefully. When I exercise my right to peaceful protest, I show my politicians what I want them to focus on. I want them to focus on justice for all.
As Christians, we have our marching orders:
He has show you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.Micah 6:8, New International Version
What will you do to follow orders this week?