And so we grieve over another national tragedy.Two New York City police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot -- assassinated -- as they sat in their patrol car this past weekend. Let the needlessness of their deaths rip our hearts open. Let the humanity come first.
Faith community leadership is increasingly critical as we also negotiate recent targeted acts of violence against law enforcement, such as Saturday's tragic shootings of NYPD Officers Ramos and Liu in Brooklyn.
We are calling on clergy of all ethnicities and faith traditions to join us in leading our nation toward healing and reconciliation.
So let's enter 2015 looking forward to a better future. Let's not be a nation of complainers who find nothing good to smile about but plenty to be angry about. If we can't recognize the good in our lives, then we can never hope to find satisfaction. In that case, every year will be a bad one.
If soldiers in the trenches -- who were fighting the biggest war at that time -- were able to take at least a few hours to see beyond their conflict, to see the bigger picture and stop trying to kill each other, then why couldn't we?
And this is the heart of the Gospel! God is love. This is the truth. Jesus was also speaking of the truth of God, but the truth is that God is love. In a way this message is very vulnerable, but it has to be vulnerable, because love is vulnerable.
College campuses have always been grounds for debate and free thought. This is well known: the idea of the college campus as a home for activism is woven into the history of many of America's most important movements for social justice.
The wrongful convictions data coming from the Innocence Project provide all the proof we need that all things are not equal in the application of American justice. Justice is color coded, and truly a matter of black and white. Now is the time to change that.
All lives should matter, but this is not a current reality for Black people and people of color in America.
When I found out about the Eric Garner decision, I did not know how to respond. But my first instinct was not to stop. It was to go and do something. And I surely didn't pause to find my favorite worship song or let alone ask, "Lord, what would you have me to do?"
These marches are not only about recent cases. Some of us have been all too conscious of police abuse our entire lives, and it has been underway for generations. It's just that we have, as a country, come to a different place.
As we embrace these cold, dark moments in the shadows -- together with the light, the gratitude, the laughter and love -- let's start by taking care of ourselves and giving from our overflow to our loved ones and our neighbors.
We believe it is essential to take a long hard look at what works in the long term in communities of color. In our more than 20 years of organizing, we have found that nothing works better than jobs at getting people off the street and putting money into low-income neighborhoods.
Black lives matter, and our justice system must become more fair and just. I hope many others concerned about these injustices will stand up to support policies and reforms that will create a fairer, safer, and more just America.
Here's a list of three things labor can do to support those who are leading the charge to confront racism and promote justice in our nation:
I realize that many factors play a role in the examples I cite above, including the judicial system itself; official versus real life police attitudes, not to mention the law and recent questionable policing techniques implemented in New York City and elsewhere.
Instead of pitting the deaths of Liu and Ramos against Garner and Brown; we can join them together, understanding them as martyrs whose live inspire us on both sides of the blue line to work for a more just, safe and united America.
Change takes time. But what sets our nation apart is that, even in our darkest hours, we strive to make things better. During this week's winter solstice, we celebrate the holiday season with light as a symbol of hope.
None of this is to say that we need to toss all the evidence out and start at square one. Nor am I saying that the evidence supporting Wilson's account is totally false. My point is that everyone must realize that forensic science is not absolute like on television.
The only way to say the words and not fall to pieces under the crushing irony doled out by a double-talking justice system is to understand "Black lives matter" not as a slogan or a hashtag but as a meditation. A mantra. A prayer. Or...