What do you see when you see the footprints in between the leaves? Can you tell who made them? Perhaps you can assume from other objects in the picture that a child made them. And when you picture that child, what do you picture? Do you picture your own child, niece, or nephew? Perhaps you picture your grandchild or the sweet little one that lives next door.
We have all heard that it takes a village to raise a child. So if our children are growing up thinking that gangs, violence, or any other unhealthy habit is the only option; who has failed them? We all have. If the precious child that left these innocent footprints grew up to hate, just because the color of skin they saw on their neighbor; who has failed them? We all have.
We do not have to know someone personally to be able to make a difference. We do not have to be in the situation to be in the "fight" for change. It is all of our responsibilities to spread love. Perhaps you call that God's love, perhaps it is universal love, or perhaps it is just common humanity. It doesn't matter what you call it. It doesn't matter what you look like, what the person next to you looks like, or what the person half a world away looks like; we all deserve love and respect!
My heart aches as I watch cities falling to violence and riots. My heart breaks to know that there are people that can carry so much hate and ignorance in their hearts to believe it is ever ok to treat anyone less than the child of god that they are. We have failed them. We have failed to show them the good and teach them love. We have failed the people who are harmed at the hands of the violence.
Not every cop is racist. Most are not, but if even one gets through the screening process then the system is broken. Not every person of color is a gang member, an illegal, or out to steal jobs or anything else. Most are not, but if we allow our view to be skewed by the few then our society and our mindset is broken. Not every while person is racist or turning a blind eye. I would love to say most are not but the best I can do is say that I believe that most feel how wrong it is in their hearts and just don't know how to make a difference. The simple fact of calling this all out by segregating and focusing on our differences is a glaring red light that there is a huge problem that needs fixed. It needed fixed a thousand years ago. It needed fixed a hundred years ago. And I am heartbroken to see we are still broken as a human race.
I cannot say what it is like to live in the fear or the discrimination that other people have had to live. But I can say without a doubt that we ALL need to start speaking up, reaching out, and fixing this together. I pray we can do this without violence and without the loss of more innocent lives. We have to make a change, a million changes really.
I'm grateful to have led a sheltered life. I'm grateful for the blessings I have had and still have. But my heart aches that these basic privileges are not afforded to every single human. I'm grateful to have a diverse group of friends to help teach me. I'm grateful to embrace a variety of perspectives to help give me a more rounded picture of what is happening. I'm grateful for every police officer who is honorable and risking their lives to make the world a better place for every person. I'm grateful for every person who finds the strength to peaceably protest injustice and stand up for what is wrong. I'm grateful for every person in power that takes the steps to make real change. I'm grateful for every person in the "village" who steps up to teach love and respect. I'm grateful for every person who makes a difference and every person who demands change. I'm grateful to have faith in humanity as a whole and to hold hope that we can fulfill Dr. King's Dream and more.
What can you do? How can you make a difference where you live?
May today remind us that we are all children of god. May we stop looking at what is outside and seek to see each other through our hearts. May we find the courage, wisdom, and strength to fix what is broken and begin healing the many, many wounds it has caused. Have a beautiful day.