I offer condolences and sympathy to all who have lost their loved ones.
The acts of violence that have unfolded over the last week have been seen and felt almost instantly all over the world because of the advances in technology. Meanwhile, after decades, or dare I say centuries, of similar hate-driven mass killings and violence, we have not learned how to embrace the fragility and the sacredness of life or our precious relationships with one another. Healing is required.
We all now have such precious little time to absorb, reflect, react, rebound, or more importantly, heal appropriately. Now data is available to prove that the sudden loss of a loved one to violence, or any cause for that matter, creates a psychic wound that brings physical and emotional pain and suffering. My eyes are burning today with tears of compassion and frustration for the families of all the loved ones who were killed this week, including Philando Castile of St. Paul, Minnesota; Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Brent Thompson of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit; and six other officers of the Dallas Police Department. Not to be lost in this recent set of tragedies are the victims of Isis-driven terrorism, refugees fleeing violence, and homicide victims in Chicago, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Orlando and Charleston.
We talk about grief as if it is a "thing" that can be held or set down in time. Grief is a process and an experience that changes us forever. There is far too much grieving these days and this protracted painful suffering is weighing us down as a country and as members of the larger global community. It is holding us back. Far too many hearts are broken as these precious loved ones are lost.
Life and a life well loved, is simply a gift, a blessing and we must learn to value and appreciate it as such. Standing up for peace and racial healing will demonstrate that we appreciate the gifts of love and life.
Violence will never end violence. It only begets more.Those who ambush and function as hidden attackers, snipers, killers and terrorists choose a cowardly approach for engagement, no matter the stated rationale or justification.
Here in our United States, the longstanding gun culture facilitates and maintains an ethos of "acting from fear." We cannot continue to pretend as if the availability of firearms is not central to all issues of violence and division in America. Just as we cannot continue to act as if our historic and contemporary belief in a hierarchy of human value, racism and permission to devalue the lives of perceived "others" is not an obstacle for our continued progress as a nation and, indeed, as a free and interdependent world.
Only love and understanding can conquer hate that is driven by ignorance and antiquated false beliefs and ideologies. Healing is the complicated work of fostering needed love and understanding. As someone who has lost too many loved ones, I will continue to channel my life-long experience of grieving into more robust efforts to generate healing in my country and across the globe. It is my sincere hope that all those reading this will share this message and join me and the many others who are committed to racial healing as we continue this essential journey.