Tuesday, July 12, 2016

If the USA acted like Prospect Park, would it be better?

This has been a tough week for America.  It started with the news of one black man shot and killed by the police after selling CDs outside of a store in Baton Rouge.  The next day, another black man was shot and killed at what was supposedly a routine traffic stop.  Just a few days later, 5 police officers were killed trying to protect protesters from an angry black man shooting from a rooftop.  Some of the officers died trying to protect a young black mom and her children.  

Black Lives Matter.  Until we say and admit that they do, there is no reason to say all lives matter.  I fully believe that black people, especially black men, are treated differently than just about anyone else in society.  I'm about to marry (18 days away) the most beautiful, peaceful, loving black man.  He brings me joy and happiness.  I've seen how he is treated differently than me in every store, on the street, and yes, even by the police.  

I'm not a hater of the police.  I have family members who are on the police force.  I know that there are good police officers out there.  I know that they are doing the best that they can to protect us and our country.  There is still a problem when they are harder on black men than they are on everyone else.  This study in the NYTimes today says that black men are not more likely to get shot, but are treated worse than their white counterparts.  

On Sunday, David and I went to church.  We needed it.  Both of us have been out of sorts.  I've been crying on and off all week as I think about how helpless I feel to make a difference. He was stopped by the police in the subway to have his bag searched and they surrounded him when they did it.  I've only had that happen to me once and the officers only pulled me aside and looked in my bag.  They didn't surround me to look in it.  

Church was amazing.  It always is.  Our senior minister really knows how to give an engaging and intelligent sermon.  There was a lot of crying this past Sunday.  It's ok to cry in church.  If any place can give us a list of things we can do to help, it is this church.  David and I left both feeling energized to tackle racism in our own ways.  

After church, I decided to go for a run.  I needed some thinking time and running is my meditation.  I walked over to Prospect Park which is right in our back yard. 

The first thing I noticed was that there were hundreds of people barbecuing.  There was an African Church service with drumming.  There were Jewish families pedaling these four wheeled carts you can rent (I gave one family a push up a steep hill during my run).  There was an older black man teaching his little boy how to ride a bike.  There were two Muslim women kicking a soccer ball back and forth.  Every where you looked, people were enjoying the park. 

For a few moments here and there, I felt like I had a piece of the park to myself.  Then I'd run into three teenagers trying to catch something in a pokemon ball with the new game.  I kept thinking that there has to be a solution in here somewhere.  We people of all different races, religions, and ethnic backgrounds are managing to enjoy the park together in peace. 

Some places had people mixed together.  Others had groups that seemed either all of the same race or all of the same religion.  No one argued with others.  There was space and sunshine, and green grass enough for everyone to enjoy.  

How do we as a society learn from this?  Even the police officers were smiling and enjoying the good spirits of the people in the park.  

There has to be a way we can create laughter, peace, love and happiness instead of violence, hate, prejudice, and racism.  I'll keep running and keep trying to figure it out.  If you have ideas, please feel free to share.  

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