I keep thinking about Ahmaud.
I keep looking at the picture of this beautiful human being.
He was just out for an afternoon jog.
He was hunted down in broad daylight, because he had the audacity to be black.
I keep replaying the horror.
My heart keeps breaking for his poor mother.
It’s so difficult for me to wrap my mind around the savagery of a young man being blocked into his own ruthless murder.
But things like this happen all the time.
It’s honestly so hard to live in this world today, right?
It’s so painful to think about all the work that’s been done and all the lessons history tried to teach us…with so little to show for it.
We have had, quite literally, all the time in the world to eradicate hatred.
But we cling to it so tightly, often without even meaning to…because hatred is sometimes so easily disguised.
As a result…
Too many lives have been lost.
Too few hearts have seen the light.
Too little change has been made…in all those years.
That is a tragedy.
That’s THE tragedy.
And, can I tell you something? My privilege is definitely showing.
It’s hard for me to live in this world because of how my heart hurts for others.
I will never know what it’s like to live in constant fear or pain or ridicule because of the skin I live in.
I’m sitting on my couch, trying to honor this beautiful young man, and I genuinely have no idea what he must have felt every day of his life. I will never know.
“Privilege” is a word that upsets people, but it shouldn’t. It’s simply an immunity from hateful, baseless racial and ethnic profiling. It means your skin color — the most obvious thing about you — doesn’t make your life harder every day.
I own that.
Owning your privilege is an incredible thing. It means you want to take part in the healing. It means you want to lead with love.
Let’s explore that for just a second.
Privilege might cause anger when people peacefully try to tell us they’re being killed just for living.
Love steps back and acknowledges that they’re just pleading with us to care.
Privilege might try to justify our anger because they’re somehow telling us in the wrong way.
Love reminds us they’ve been trying to get our attention all along…they’ve tried everything else already. And besides, who are we to tell other humans they don’t get to peacefully express their pain?
Privilege tells us to see things from our own limited perspectives.
Love tells us that leaves us blind.
Privilege tries to misrepresent numbers and distort reality, often to make us feel better.
Love tells us to hear the truth. It tells us to listen closer. It tells us we have a lot of learning to do.
Privilege says, “I’m offended.”
Love says, “I’m hurting someone else.”
Privilege can’t believe hatred is so embedded in our culture that people would instinctively have feelings about others at first sight…without knowing them…and without even thinking about it.
Love knows that’s the world we live in. And the sooner we acknowledge it, the sooner we can correct the course.
Privilege tells us to stay silent. Not to ruffle feathers.
Love tells us we’re failing our neighbors when we choose not to speak.
Love also reminds us it takes strength and character to open oneself up to the possibility of being wrong.
It takes a lot of courage to lead with love.
And leading with love is what we must do to FINALLY impact change.
We were meant for more than this; we were meant for better.
We were created to exist within relationships. We were designed to love one another.
We weren’t made to hate or fear our fellow human beings. Hatred of another person is a man-made construct. It’s learned. Sometimes — because it is so deeply ingrained into our history and culture — we teach it without even meaning to. We let the cycle continue.
Imagine what it will be like when we finally win against it.
I daydream about what it’s like on the other side of the life divide, where we’ll never even have to remind ourselves that we’re all made in the image of God. Where we won’t be color blind, no — but where we’ll love and appreciate every color’s unique beauty.
On this side, I’m just tired. I know we can do better now.
I’m tired of seeing my black and brown brothers and sisters fighting to survive.
I’m tired of seeing mamas suffering through the most painful tragedies imaginable.
I’m tired of letting hatred win.
I’ve cried a lot of tears for Ahmaud. Just like I cried a lot of tears of Philando, Trayvon, Atatiana, Botham, and all the people we learned about through public outrage alone. But we don’t know the half of it. Or even the 1%.
These human lives are SO precious. These are real people, and they’re loved. They have moms and dads, siblings, friends. Some have babies. Some ARE just babies.
Their lives should be honored.
They deserve true change.
So, while my tears aren’t helping anybody, I hope my voice will make a difference.
It’s time for us all to acknowledge the hard truth.
We cannot create change without speaking out.
So, please, don’t stay silent.
We have waited far too long.