George Floyd. There’s pain in realizing that the only reason I know your name is because of the police brutality that led to your murder, captured on video. I couldn’t and still can’t bring myself to watch it. I found out what happened last Tuesday, and by Wednesday morning, I found myself reflecting during my time with God in prayer.
What if the police treated me differently?
I thought back to the moment I was pulled over for making an illegal turn in Astoria Queens, which I didn’t realize I did until the officer came and asked me about it. As I thought back on that situation, I wondered what would have happened if things happened differently. What if I encountered this officer and he was on a power trip, or one who had preconceived thoughts about me, and came with aggression. I’m not one to disrespect officers, because I respect their job and calling as public servants, but what if the officer didn’t respect me as a citizen and a black man in spite of my respect? Would I have experienced worse?
There are alot of feelings that we as black men and women go through when we see this happen. Not every individual experiences the same feelings in the same way, but there is a common feeling of grief and loss. Other thoughts and feelings consist of fear for our safety, grief that we have to teach our kids/future kids how to interact with police just to prevent a bad situation, the weariness of “here we go again,” and much more.
The harsh reality about what has happened, and what has provoked the intense anger we’ve seen the past couple of days, is that George didn’t resist arrest or do anything to provoke having the knees of several officers on top of him. The heaviness, weariness, and frustration with the level of injustice inflicted upon George affected me and many of you reading this throughout last week. I reflected on my encounter with the police in the midst of my prayers to Christ for justice, and the thoughts of what could’ve happened to me were running through my mind for five minutes on that Wednesday morning.
As you read this, there are personal stories that you and others around you may have shared this past week, with all of the anger, fear, frustration, and more that come with it. This murder, along with the Central Park incident with Amy Cooper, as well as the COVID-19 disparities experienced by Black and Hispanic communities have boiled up and poured out fierce anger and frustration that has led to protests around the country. Some turning violent and destructive.
There’s a lot of discussion about the protests, rioting, and looting that’s happening around our country, and without trying to answer every issue, I want to acknowledge that there’s real pain, fear, anger, and much more that needs to be felt and understood with this. I and many of you reading don’t agree with the destruction of property, or the destruction of the livelihood of black men and women that fought to bring business to their communities, but we can reject the violence without ignoring the levels of hurt and pain that are present. There are people who join protests for multiple reasons, both good and bad.
In the midst of the protests and riots, this past weekend God has revealed His power and His presence in the midst of pain, fear, and destruction. I’ve seen pictures of officers kneeling in solidarity, as well as my brothers and sisters in Christ praying with cops and protesters. I love that God doesn’t run away from what’s complicated, but reveals His kingdom with clarity in the midst of it.
As I process all of the feelings I’ve gone through, the prayers I’ve prayed where God met me with His comfort and grace, and witnessed all that has taken place this week, I leave with one thought that sums it up for me. I’m grieving, and yet I’m grounded. We all won’t experience getting to this place in the same way, but for us who trust and belong to Christ, we all have the same promise of being grounded on a firm foundation.
This isn’t a quick fix, and I have more that I will share in my next piece. But I do hope and pray that wherever you are when you read this, that God’s grace be upon you and in Him you can stand on a firm foundation. God bless you, and may His justice reign in our world.