I don’t want to just pray

The world I live in is unjust.

It may be that I’m becoming an adult, or I pay more attention to what goes on in the news, or that technology is making it more possible to know what happens in Falcon Heights Minnesota as easily as what happens in Baghdad, but it’s all to clear to me that the world I live in does not treat all lives equally.
It’s apparent to me that not all lives get justice, not all lives get to see old age, not all lives get to live in peace.
I can’t take more heartache. I read a story here, see a picture there. Follow a think piece or see what people post as they try to make sense of the horrors surrounding us…
It all leaves my heart open like a sore that won’t heal. Every incident is like throwing more salt onto the wound.
I read the news and feel there’s nothing I can do. There has to be something I can do, but no one seems to have an answer. Writing a post about it on facebook and then moving onto the next tragedy. Mourning, feeling the tug of my heart. That can’t be enough. There has to be more love I can give.
It’s easy to sit from my office or home in my suburban town that’s predominantly White and Hispanic and say “pray for Alton’s family” “Pray for Orlando” “Pray for the middle east” and then go on with my day. I’m not saying prayer isn’t powerful. But I’m saying prayer has become the knee jerk response to atrocities so that we as humans aren’t held accountable for our beliefs, our actions, our society.
Have you ever mourned someone? Have you ever mourned and felt the absence of someone’s untimely death? Now imagine the person you’re mourning is being depicted in the worst light. Every mistake, error and past secret being brought up. The time they failed 9th grade math, tried smoking or said something mean. Or any other mistake a human can make because we are creatures whose characters fail time and time again.
Now imagine someone else is responsible for that person’s death. And the person responsible didn’t know your loved one the way you knew them. They didn’t know the way they made you laugh, or the time they gave their seat up for someone on the bus, or how they came to help you when you needed them most.
Worst, you know that you’re loved one did not deserve to die. And yet here we are.
What if instead of saying “pray for (enter the family of the victim here)” we ask “what if there was something we could have done to stop this from happening?” What if for just a moment police departments, governments, individuals played devils advocate and found a way to prevent more unnecessary and unjust deaths.
If there was a trend that 40% of children at a school were being poisoned by the food served in the cafeteria, and this happened year after year you have to believe that there would be every government agency stepping in to put a stop to it. There may not be any blame to be placed, it could have been an oversight, the rats could have gotten into the food and no one noticed but the fact couldn’t be ignored that children were being unjustly poisoned at this school. You can’t just let it continue to happen. These are the lives of our children right?
All #blacklivesmatter is asking is do more than pray a hail mary and to acknowledge that we have a problem and ask “is there something we can do differently to stop this”?
Because ignoring that of the deaths caused by police officers to unarmed men, 40 % of those victims are black, only ensures that next year and the year after that and the year after that we will continue to poison our children.
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