Our country, among other things, seems to be arguing about which lives matter. Every life matters. Black lives matter. Brown lives matter. LGBT lives matter. Women matter. Men matter. Police matter. Americans matter.
All lives matter. We are all the same; from the same mold.
The Black Lives Matters movement, as a peaceful movement to educate and spread light on the unjust treatment of blacks in America, is an extremely important movement- until it turns violent.
And it has.
On July 7, Micah Xavier Johnson ambushed and fired upon police officers, in Dallas, watching over a peaceful rally on Black Lives Matter, killing five officers and injuring nine others. Two civilians were also wounded.
When men decide that it is ok to gun down police officers, the very people who keep us safe, day in and day out– that is when the peaceful movement gets a bad rep and becomes associated with violence. And to some, the movement looks as if it isn’t working. It appears to not be helping the cause-or anyone.
Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, spokesman for the Waco Police Department, spoke enlightening words and admiration for the citizens of Waco for their support to the Waco Police Department and its officers after the Dallas Police shootings.
Swanton answered about negativity and hate in Waco, “There was only the one incident of “Die Pigs” being written on one of our police vehicles. That was it.”
He continued, “The citizens of Waco have rallied around our officers with nothing but kindness. We have had coffee bought for us, had lunches provided, pizza delivered, cookies and cakes. We have not gone hungry around here, that’s for sure.” He went on, “The outpouring of support has been amazing in person and on our Facebook page, through cards, letters and emails. It speaks volumes.”
“We’ve had a good rapport with the Waco community. We struggle to do the best we can. We hold our force to high standards-nothing but professionalism. When we mess up, we hold our officers accountable. When we make a mistake, we correct it. And I think the community feels that,” Swanton expressed.
Speaking of the Waco citizens, he finished with, “We need them as much as they need us.”
There are bad people in every walk of life. You could find bad doctors and nurses, bad teachers, even bad priests. People make mistakes daily and people make bad judgements. People are human. That doesn’t make it right to kill police officers. This is only drawing negative attention to the Black Lives Matter movement. It is not helping.
An eye for an eye does not produce peace or forgiveness. We need to heal this country, every part of it, rather than divide it. Unite not divide.
How do we stop violence against groups in America?
Our nation needs to begin a conversation that will help heal our country, heal each other and stop the violence against each other and the very people who vow to keep us safe as a daily routine.
The national conversation has begun.
Whether you call them inherent rights, natural rights or God-given rights, we as a society, no matter your background, net-worth, society or culture, have them. Ever since the 1776 Declaration of Independence, these rights have been called unalienable rights.
It is our inherent right, or the means by which we determine justice, fair entitlement and peaceful conflict resolution, to live in a free society. Free society comes with rules and laws. We all have inherent rights, but we must obey the laws and respect those that govern them.
We can say all the positive words. Love, grace, compassion, forgiveness, understanding to all people, no matter who they are or what they have done to us.
And while these words are a start, we need a continuation or all the social-ills will only escalate.
After the Dallas police shootings, Hillary Clinton said, “[There is] too much violence and hate in our country.”
She spoke the truth. And yet, what are the answers? What even are the questions?
Mother Teresa spoke wise words when she said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across waters to create many ripples.”
All the little ripples could make a change. Imagine if we all thought this way and started throwing stones-the right way- the positive way. If everyone would try to make a positive change, cause a ripple, in a positive way, we could make a really large ripple of change in this world we all share.
Sometimes you just have to decide that you want to be the change. We, as Americans, need to decide to go through life being the encourager-not the persecutor.
One man in Dallas started a ripple and it has been reached around the world with a poster board and a Sharpie. Chris Bailey drove downtown, to the crime scene, after the shootings in Dallas, armed with his poster board that read, “EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY”. He describes on his website that he was nervous about getting out of his car with his sign; he was compelled to do it.
He walked around downtown for two and a half hours, receiving hugs, fist bumps, thumbs up, waves, and lots of head nods. With excitement he wrote about getting zero negative responses. People took pictures of him and pictures with him. The Associated Press picked up one of those pictures and Bailey and his sign went viral. The news sources at the crime scene interviewed him and his story and picture has been in the newspapers in Houston, DC, and Spain. He has been on local news in Louisiana and even in Norway.
This simple message is a positive ripple.
Bailey was on a street corner, with his famous sign, during the interview. He expressed, “A lot of people don’t get out and do something because they feel they won’t make a change. I am just one guy and I have affected over 57,000 people. Do something simple. Just do SOMETHING.”
Then he added, “Show somebody that you love them.”
Bailey started a Facebook page that now has over 57,000 members that is spreading love and erasing hate. Bailey’s website, http://www.everybodyloveeverybody.net/ is selling t-shirts, hoodies, stickers and other items with the original, scribbled out, positive message on it- “EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY”
Bailey said he lives by the Golden Rule. The money will go towards his annual feeding of the homeless and providing Christmas for the Butler Housing Project in Fort Worth. The money for this usually comes out of his own pocket. He is in the process of becoming a non-profit.
When Bailey, a foundation repair salesman, was asked what the biggest positive that he has experienced out of this signage, he responded with, “My change of attitude. I’ve become a nicer guy, towards my family and my job. I made a 180 degree turn-around in less than a week. It is me that has changed.”
Amplify this message. Pay it forward.
This is our wake-up call. Like Bailey, show someone you care; that you love them. Everybody deserves love from everybody. Be too busy to hate.
love and blessings~dd
*This was an article I wrote for a special edition of The Hometown News. I felt the words were important and should be a part of my blog.