We featured a few of them at the April 2016 Black Leaders Matter forum, including Keith Terry (Director of Y-Strive), Leroy & Donna Barber (Founders of the Voices Project and HopeMob), and Greg Ellison (Founder of Fearless Dialogues). These leaders have worked for decades to seek nonviolent solutions, and extend love and healing throughout their communities and our country.
But there’s more to do.
Are you looking for ways to respond to the recent shootings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the dozen of Dallas police and civilians killed or wounded this week? Here are just a few:
- Donate to national organizations like HopeMob and Fearless Dialogues to extend their effective work
- Include rituals in worship this week that help congregants to physically, vocally, and spiritually lament, confess, share supplications, and be reminded of goodness
- Gather with family, friends, and neighbors to pray for your community and our country
- Consider ways you personally have objectified other people in thought, word, or deed, and create new practices to see, listen, and love your neighbor with greater sincerity and in ways they perceive being seen, heard, and loved
- Consider ways your neighbors suffer, what sudden deaths, unjust incarcerations, or infringement on civil rights occur in your community, and how you can create restoration
- Practice acts of kindness and love with your family, friends, and neighbors today and throughout the weekend
- Don’t be surprised if you feel fatigued or irritable – this is a normal response when you are moved in your spirit by what’s happened. Instead, consider these signs of your own need to breath deeply, be nourished, and find caring people with whom to communicate what’s happened.
Recently, when speaking to a packed auditorium at the University of California, Santa Barbara, which experienced a mass shooting in May 2014, renowned defense attorney Bryan Stevenson encouraged his audience to “get proximate” in order to continue effecting goodness in the country. Practices listed above will help you get proximate to what’s been going on this week in our country, to survivors, and to people who continue to suffer. The only way healing, safety, and dignity for all neighbors in the United States today will come about is through proximate and caring relationships – by each one of us being willing to draw near, be moved, and respond.
But you can feel it, can’t you? As Dallas protest organizers, Mark and Cory Hughes, even after being suspected and detained for interrogation, continue to speak about the importance of nonviolence and building cooperative and caring relationships across community sectors.
Cultural change is happening. And you can be a part of it.