My heart continues to break for my community, the black community.
Being black is not something that you can turn on or off in a moment of convenience.
In recent news, Rachel Dolezal tried to glamorize the struggle and triumphs of blacks. Yes, I know she has been advocating for blacks as a member of the NAACP, BUT it must be clear that at any moment she can return to being white and no longer identify or endure struggles that many blacks still face in America each and every day.
Though I am outraged by last night's shooting, I also ask that each of us begin to acknowledge and accept that we must forgive Dylann Roof. Because if we solely act with good intentions, the bitter root of bigotry and hatred will take hold. We must continue to work to unite communities of all stripes and act out of a deep passion for racial healing and justice in America.
To be clear, you and I must make a decision to continuously forgive those who commit crimes against us, those who follow us for unjust cause, exercise undue force, and kill us with impunity.
Walter Scott, the 4 little girls in Alabama (1963), Eric Gardner in New York, the kids in Texas, Tamir Rice in Ohio, the list is too long.
This is not a republican or democratic issue... this is a peoples issue, an American issue, and one that only by coming together can we tackle and surmount. The change that must happen will not happen from a podium in DC, the halls of congress or the desks of presidents. This change will be from a local grassroots movement that starts within our community. We must examine our own actions that disenfranchise other blacks and cease those actions. We command the most respect when we respect ourselves and each other.
And, yes, we see that the media can be distorted in their coverage. Michael Brown was labeled as being "no angel" yet Roof is described "as quiet and soft-spoken, an introvert." Roof was more than troubled. He was filled with hatred and rage. He was determined to committ a hate crime. He is a murderer.
I am a woman of faith, and so I will continue to pray for America. BUT I will also act and speak up. It should be clear that we have all the right to protect ourselves and must exercise our 2nd Amendment rights. The issue we have before us is not a gun problem, it is a people problem. We should want to protect ourselves, families, and communities.
Families are broken from one man's actions, a sense of hope and peace in our churches is shattered, a state is broken and a nation weeps.
May these murders bring us closer together and focused on the racial healing and justice that America deeply needs-- from education to criminal justice reform to jobs to simply understanding that we are all Americans and should respect each other.
Let's move forward together, as one country.