Love One Another for Love is of God.

Over the past year, tensions have grown all over the world related to how we look and where we are from. Sometimes, it’s easy to turn off the news or look the other way.  A cherished friend of mine recently wrote the following on her Facebook page and I have asked her permission to share what she wrote. Some of you may know her, Jennifer King (nee.Williams). She wrote this the day after another shooting in the States and a man’s life was taken by violence. Her words resonated with me because I grew up with Jennifer.  I have kids and so does she. I live in my white privilege and have never once had a conversation like this with my kids. I needed these words to wake me up and to remind me again that every child, every person, matters to someone. I can’t just say ‘oh that happens somewhere else’ – I have the power to speak up and to speak Love and I hope this snap shot of their family breakfast table will convince you of the same thing. –Sara Pippus.

Used with permission. Written by Jennifer King (nee.Williams)

“Stay safe out there.”

I just sent my 16-year-old, unarmed black boy to school.

Over a bowl of sweetened cereal, we discussed how not to get shot, compliance, Black Lives Matter, riots, demonstrations, helicopter narrators, good cops, bad cops, who’s suing whom, and what it was like to get pulled over back in the 90’s.

These aren’t the breakfasts I’d imagined with my teen son when I was a younger mom. I don’t know. I guess I was expecting quiet breakfasts – me doing my typical morning chirpiness thing, him doing his expected nod-and-munch with the occasional teenage grunt.

He’s off to school now. He walks a short distance to his bus stop. We live in a safe, university town in the South. He’s taking classes in television media, sings in the choir, posts videos of him dancing, posts pictures of his art, clips of the music he’s produced. When he’s not working, he’s the mascot for his school. A lion… He’s pretty good.

But I know that’s not always what people see.

He’s forbidden to wear anything baggy, saggy, or reminiscent of thuggery. He has no interest, anyway. I told him I’m glad he hangs out with good kids. He told me he’s glad his best (black) friend walks around with a guitar. His other friend wears Hawaiian shirts. “It’s our best defense, I think.” He laughed weakly.

Sad, when you have to arm yourself with musical instruments and bad fashion.

He talks of buying a car. Getting his license. This is all on the very near horizon.

“If you get stopped, put both hands outside your window and let them come to you.”

“Do whatever they tell you, and nothing else.”

“Be respectful, son.”

“I know.”

“Nothing is worth getting shot.”

Even then, I wonder if my advice is enough.

“Don’t reach for anything. Just let them come to you.”

“Keep both hands empty and visible.”

Both parents are chiming in.

“It’s not like it was in the 90’s. It’s different now.”

It’s different now. Everyone’s on edge. The non-stop media coverage, social media, the talking heads… are they reporting the violence, or are they inciting it? Doesn’t matter. It’s done: In between terror attacks, we’re killing each other.

And my boy walks our streets.

And I put the cereal back in the pantry and whisper a quiet prayer…


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