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When thoughts and prayers are not enough 

I am angry.  I am so overfilled with deep and incomprehensible anger that I could scream. There is so much pain and sorrow welling in me that I can hardly breathe.  To see the images replay over and over in my mind, each time more vivid than the last, of a black man killed while pinned to the ground by white officers then a young father murdered in the presence of his girlfriend and his four-year-old child in the front seat of his car are more than I, and clearly many African American’s, can take. To add insult, to watch an armed police officer in the later incident hold a loaded gun on this man as he bled out in his front seat and in front of his loved ones …SMH.  No words…and to be clear, I am never short of words nor am the first to yell race, but what else explains these two incidents?  I am sick and tired of being sick and tired and this makes what is going on right now so dangerous and different from normal racism.

You see, I am the last person in the world to ever raise race as a defense for police action or any action for that matter.  I believe that in certain cases, Americans (Black, White, Hispanic, etc.) cause their own negative consequences as a result of poor choices and decisions.  In those actions and execution of these “rights”, everyone talks about, you can sometimes experience unwanted consequences.  However, in the two instances cited above, all I can say is…please help me understand.

There were none of the typical issues that lead us to believe that there was a concern over social class or a history of bad behavior or even any indication that disobedience was a concern.  Nothing!  Just white police officers who clearly made poor decisions that caused black men to lose their lives;  And for what?  I will tell you for what…so that a person in Dallas who was full, ill and frustrated could make an even worse decision to cause five police officer families to now suffer a loss that no one should suffer.

What’s worse, I wonder if this cycle of violence can or will be the end.  I am so tired, aren’t all of you?

Today’s sermon in church was about the Good Samaritan (Psalms 82) where we learn how we are to conduct ourselves and how we are to love one another not only in word but in our deeds.  We are to care for one another in distress and help to meet each other's needs in love, sharing all that we have if needed.  Events like the one seen with my own eyes last week make me realize it is time out for sitting and opinionating, we must now stand up and be heard.  God says, faith without works is dead and so our prayers and thoughts are good (and necessary) but hardly enough.

We must take a stand, standing up and being heard on the issues of race that cause events like these and say no – no, we are not going to take this anymore; No, we are not going to accept these actions from a few unfit police officers who have anything but protection of the public interest in mind and who think the complete power of their position is held in the gun they hold in their hands.

Officers who are wise enough to know that if someone saw a gun (and yelled gun), it was in no way usable by a man pinned on the ground and so to shoot him in the back at all, let alone five or six times, was not logical and would leave to unwanted outcomes.  If these white police officers do not lose their jobs/freedoms, like the millions of Americans who have done far less, the system will again confirm that the law we all live by is broken and will never protect any of us from the uniformed predators who stalk us and never provide justice if we are lost in the battle.

We are NOT living in a post-racial society but we don’t want to experience the negative consequences of this daily or send our children into the world praying that they will return from the store or even our front porches. We are tired but we are not without determination and we will stand up. A wise man once reminded me that we have a choice, we can make things happen, watch things happen or wonder what happened?  I have always been a person who wanted to make things happen and that is how I feel now.  

Realizing that there is a force that we must break down, I want to remind white America that we are not looking for a handout, we just want you to open the door and we will come in and get our own. All we want to do is have the same chance others have and in the two cases I have cited here, race was absolutely a factor that cost them their lives and I am clear and awoke on this.  I plan to “stay woke” as the young people say, on this and I will not sit down until something changes.  I am not alone and others like me will insist on justice and to be heard on these issues because even a dog deserves better than what these men got and others like me “WE” will not back down.  We demand respect and require answers to why these actions were deemed acceptable…because we know the actions are not acceptable.  Never!

To my people in arms, the “how” we respond really matters.  We cannot go out and shoot innocent police officers because they are likely not the bad cops and if we do, we are no better than those that do it to our people.  To stand up we do not have to compromise our values or ourselves, we simply have to have the courage, conviction, and commitment to stand up. Stand up my brothers and sisters.  Stand up and be heard on this issue in every setting and on every opportunity you can.  Make sure that white America and all Americans know that you see race in these issues, that you will not call it something else to make others feel better and that you will be calling it what is until it stops and that justice is served.  

No exceptions, no excuses, not ever!


Velma R. Hart





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