Historically and as a rule, I do not openly discuss political and controversial topics; however, the atrocious massacre of the nine innocent lives that took place at Mother Emmanuel on Wednesday, June 17th in the year of our Lord 2015 have completely awaken me and left me forever changed.
Yes, there are daily news reports of people being gunned down senselessly by people they know, complete strangers and that small segment of those who abuse their power. In the past, when I would hear about these DAILY reports, I would pray for the families, hope that things would change, post something uplifting or a reminder about the “Unwritten Rules” or maybe even something light-hearted. Then end it with a #StillPraying hashtag and go back to business as usual.
BUT what happened in Charleston completely and utterly shook me up. Immediately following the initial report of the tragedy and in the days that followed, I was heartbroken. I was shaken. I was angry. I was confused. I was afraid.
I had to ask myself what was different about “this time?”
Well, let me tell you what was different.
The Emmanuel Nine were in church…their faces…their experiences…their work in the community…their stories reminded me of the leaders in my circle…they reminded me of my mentors…they reminded me of my church family…they reminded me of my family…they reminded me of my classmates…they reminded me of my Sorority Sisters...they reminded me of my friends…they reminded me of ME...
Then I became consumed with trying to understand the motivation of the shooter. He had orchestrated such a well thought out detailed plan to kill…not because of the content of their character but SIMPLY because the color of their skin with hopes of igniting a Race War. What was his motivation? One word: HATE.
Sooooo the questions continued to flow. Close friends (both black and white) started to call me, text and email me asking why and what should we do? Surely the sacrifices made by Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Cynthia Hurd, 54 (My Soror); Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45 (My Soror); Tywanza Sanders, 26; Myra Thompson, 59; Ethel Lee Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; Daniel L. Simmons, 74 and Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49 were not in vain. Right?
After praying, crying, meditating, crying and reading the scripture and of course crying. I found/re-discovered the answer in The New Living Translation of Matthew 5: 13 – 16 which reads:
“You are the **salt** of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the **light** of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
As many of you know I have battled with my weight since I was young. It is a fight that I’m determined to win. So will it make sense for me to pray, and then keep eating all of the chips and chocolate that I can get my hands on, never lift a finger to exercise and expect to consistently lose weight? Mmm…well no. The notion is pretty ludicrous.
Well, the same principle applies to working towards positive change in this world (which on Facebook I’ve been referring to as #ProjectSaltAndLight). I’m an avid believer in the power of prayer and have regularly witnessed God do the impossible. BUT let us not forget that God has designed us to be salt and light. It is important that we work in collaboration with God and take action. This means in our circles of influence, in our homes, in our communities or wherever. Any time there is opportunity to show love, breakdown barriers, be of service, demand justice and do good…we should…we must…
We must add flavor where situations are bleak and hopeless—and cast the light of truth and knowledge where there is ignorance and misunderstanding.
As for me, #ProjectSaltAndLight will include simple things like getting involved and volunteering in my corner of the world by using my time, talent and treasures to specifically affect change not just in the LAWS but in the LIVES of those who are suffering and are being treated unfairly…in the lives of people who look like ME…In the lives of people who look like YOU.
Surely, If ONE person filled with hate, racism and ignorance could devise a DETAILED-CALCULATED PLAN to drive negative change then what kind of impact could WE make with justified anger, knowledge and love to drive positive change?
We may not all be able to do the same thing…but we can all do--we all must do SOME THING...Right?