by Kristen Walker
I love American History. Well, history in general. When people say that history repeats itself, it’s no joke. I think that’s why this week was so terrifying for me. It was full of tragedy, fear, and loss. Has this happened before? Yes. Will this happen again? I would love to say no, but the answer unfortunately is, “it can.”
I’ve had to actually delete Facebook off of my phone because of some of the ugly and disrespectful words that I’ve seen shared by friends in the past few days. It’s scary. It’s scary to see someone that you respect make comments regarding the color of someone else's skin. I’m not here to bash anyone or to make any particular side of this fight angry. I’m here to express my sorrow and support for all of those who are hurting.
The first time I felt any ounce of racism, while it was minimal, was in middle school. I went to work with my (white) mom to drop something off. A very pretty lady was standing at the counter, just staring at me. I’m very strange, so when I saw her staring at me I just waved. She turned to my mom and said, “You know, for being a half-breed, your daughter isn’t that bad.” She then made a comment about my nose being a little too wide, my skin being an acceptable shade of tan, and then something rude about my hair. I remember being stunned. My mom was furious, shared some words, and we left immediately. It was that day that she taught me that the color of my skin, my DNA, and even my features are nothing to be ashamed of. Where I came from, what I look like, my identity; these are all important things to remember and to treasure.
In Doctrine & Covenants 18 it says, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God. For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.”
This is why I support #BlackLivesMatter. Why? Because they do. They matter so very much, why is that so hard for us to understand and support? Our Savior didn’t die just for one race, He didn’t die for one group of people, He died for ALL men. The worth of ALL souls is great in the sight of God.
When tragedy strikes, we are all so quick to change our profile photo to that of the Paris flag, or post about how we’re praying for these people in these very scary situations. Why is it that when the tragedy is right here, in our own country, that we are hesitant to support our brothers, sisters, neighbors, co-workers, and friends? Why is it so hard for us to say, yes, you matter? This past week two men were killed, leaving many feeling that they could be next. This dark cloud that has been hanging over them has grown a little bit bigger. They are feeling fear and alone, why are we so afraid and so against supporting them?
In Romans 12, we are asked to, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”
As sons and daughters of God, aren’t we commanded to mourn with those who mourn and to love one another as He loves us? Sure, all lives matter. But in this moment, we need to remember these people living in fear and anger; we need to remember that they do matter.
Black Lives Matter isn’t a racist movement created to take away light or power from other races or individuals, it was brought about as a reminder. You may feel that we do not need this reminder, but judging from the news and trending topics on social media, I think that we do.
People gathered together in protests all over the country in mourning over the tragic events that took place this week. I’ve become emotional several times looking at the Snapchat live feed showing people of all races and backgrounds walking together, down the sidewalks with the hope of bringing some change and light to this matter of police brutality and murder.
In Dallas, during one of these protests, five officers were killed. They weren’t the officers involved in these previous shootings, they were just five officers that left their families that night to do their job, to protect and attempt to keep the peace. Wasn’t this a protest to bring to light the unequal treatments that one group of people were feeling? Wasn’t this a protest that began because certain individuals took it amongst themselves to play God and decide who’s soul was worth living based on their own opinions? Wasn't this shooting exactly what was being protesting against? Innocent men and women are being treated unfairly, they are being attacked, and they are even losing their lives. If you ask me, that’s not right. Then again, none of this is right.
There is plenty to say on this subject, there is no doubt about that. All I can say is that I hope that we can fight for a brighter tomorrow. I hope that we can remember that our country, the very same one that we celebrated a week ago, was built by a group of men and women that believed in an idea of Freedom. Lastly, I hope that we can unite and become one in love and purpose.
Here at Jamesthemormon, our hearts are heavy and our prayers are with each and everyone of you. Our prayers are with the people living in fear because of the color of their skin, not the content of their character. Our prayers are for the good men and women out there who put on a uniform each day in order to fulfill the promise they made to protect and serve our communities. Our prayers are with the widowed wives, the fatherless children, and the son-less parent’s out there trying to survive another day with this pain. Our prayers are with the children that are growing up learning hate and fear everyday at school, at home, and on the news. Our prayers are for the future of this beautiful country that we just celebrated a week ago. Our prayers are for a brighter tomorrow. Our prayers are for you.
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”- Nelson Mandela
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