Do you care? What are you going to do about it? The words rang in my ears as a black woman shouted at me and my son and a friend as we were leaving a baseball game and passing through a small but loud and raucous black lives matter protest in Greensboro, NC Thursday night, July 7th. I was shocked. Of course I care, I love all people. I said back to her, ‘YES, I care’. She shouted again, ‘If it were your kids, what would you do? Do you care?’ I said, WE CARE!’ She repeated her lines a bit louder, I replied ‘WE CARE! A bit of fear started to build up as I glanced around and saw people turning their attention to us.
I had just instructed my son, 18, and his friend, a 13-year-old (a young man with a single Mom whom we care much about and spend time with to give a little man time with him) to not say anything, before we approached the passing of this intersection that we had to go through, to get from the minor league game to our hotel. I told them not to say anything but give a thumbs up that we agree. We had talked about the situation and I told them it is a good thing they are doing and I would join them, except I am with you guys. (although I am not really sure if the organization itself is/was a good thing or not, peaceful demonstrations yes, violent hidden agenda ones against the police absolutely no)
I was so glad to see there were white people in the demonstration, as there should be I said to myself, and truly I did 100% agree with the need to be out there after once again another death. I actually knew very little of what had happened as this was a business trip and I missed the news the past few days. But I knew there was yet another black person killed by a policeman. We also knew nothing of what was taking place in Dallas at the time.
Suddenly here I was stopped and talking to the loudest and most boisterous person in the demonstration. All I wanted to do was get my kids back to the hotel. Again she said a few lines about what happened and asked do I care. I said WE CARE! (totally against the advice of what I had told the kids) I felt behind with my hands to see where they were, hoping they were on my shoulders. They were not (agh!) What are you going to do about it, was shouted again. I said, WE CARE!
I noticed a TV cameraman was interested in the conversation and was flipping the camera back and forth between her shouts and my two-word responses. O no I thought, this is the last thing I expected! I so wanted to tell her how much I agreed with her and how angry I too would be if it were my child, relative, friend, or family member that had been through the discrimination and racism she felt.
Earlier this afternoon I had taken the boys to the old Woolworth store in downtown Greensboro which had been turned into the Center for Civil and Human Rights . It is centered around the story of the infamous Sit In at that very location .
I so wanted to tell her, for my part, I was educating my kids and their friends. I do my part by being friendly and teaching those I know to do the same. I wanted to tell her I try really hard to reach out to people I don’t know of all races and try to be extra friendly to all. I so wanted to say I have black friends. I so wanted to say I really care and want to do something. I wanted to tell her that earlier that day I was on a tour that had 45 people including us 3 and 5 other white people together with a group on the tour of the museum just down the road. We were all united in heart, I could feel it. We were all appalled when we saw the reminders of the disgusting atrocious things that had happened here on our soil. I so wanted to tell her that tears were in my eyes (in the dark) as the pictures flashed on the walls before my kids eyes and other kids in the room who clearly had never seen such sickening things before, beyond video games and movies, that really did happen to people.
But fear gripped me instead. I don’t like cameras. I don’t like being shouted at. And the last thing I wanted to do was to explain to my wife and our single Mom friend that I had endangered them at 10:30 at night walking through a demonstration. A few more times I let out a WE CARE! And finally I succumbed to the line I hate people use when they can’t do much about something when she once again asked, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT, I said, “I CARE, i will pray for you, er this”.
I sheepishly turned around and looked for my young men and proceeded to walk to our hotel and was so glad to see they were now at my heels as we walked away. I was half fearing we were going to be followed, or a rock was about to hit the back of my head. But the confrontation was over and we peacefully headed out on the 3 block trek back to our hotel.
The boys were now filled with a 100 questions and of course Zack’s first question was, Dad, I thought you said not to say anything? His next was, why did she pick on us? What does she expect you to do about the problem anyway, you are not the President, the police chief, or anything in power to fix it?
All I could come up with was, ‘more’…..
Last Sunday at the little Spirit filled church I attend a friend said she had read a Bible verse, an odd one from 1 Samuel 10:22, it states ‘Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage’. I inquired why, what, how did you get this verse out of nowhere and why did you decide you had to tell me about it? My inclination whenever I hear something from the Bible is; it must be for me. And one odd one like that certainly has a deep hidden message of something deep and hidden I must be doing wrong or needs correcting. I believe that is always the first place to start when I read my Bible; I ask how does it apply to me and what is God telling me to do. I honestly hoped this one was NOT for me.
This Average Joe’s Portico thing I started working on a while ago, well it still seems like a dumb idea in my dueling mind. But then I sway back that it is an important idea in the Christian world also. Average Joe’s saying and doing what needs to be said and done. We all are waiting for the ‘great leader’ to stand up and do something. And some are trying, but their voice often only reaches those who side with their following. Too often it is the right-wing side, white protestant, voice of the past, which is how many look at them even if they are young. So this black problem thing, we need another MLK or some of the new young black leaders to step up. Or maybe an athlete with influence? Somebody do something besides tweeting one liners. ‘We need a King’!
Thus was the cry in this story in 1 Samuel (Read it yourself if you want the whole story 1 Samuel 8-10). ‘We need a King’. The deal however from God’s perspective was a king was not necessary, we the people, we the Average Joe’s of the world, united with God do not need a king. We already have one! For those who know Jesus Christ and carry His Spirit in them, yellow people, red people, blue people, black people, white people, regardless of what race or origin, we have the Spirit of the King living in us. All of us.
The problem is, we like Saul, who was told he would be chosen as the King, was ‘hiding amongst the baggage’ when it came time for him to STAND and be the leader he was appointed to be. We all get caught up in our own little worlds and hide from reality. We like to be left alone in our own selfish world and want rights for ourselves. Leave us be and don’t bring your problems to my door, is our mode of operation. It is so much easier to hide than to come out and sit together with those that are suffering and being abused in this world.
Two weeks ago it was the gay community that was attacked. Again the black community is confronted with racism where we all thought that is so over. Obviously it is NOT. No one trusts the government. No one trusts the police. No one trusts anyone. How do I prove that it can and should be different?
The One true King and Leader, Jesus, came to change the world and He proved it in every way via His love for ALL people. He challenged us to do the same with one commandment: ‘So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35)
Christians; White, Black, Red or whatever you are born with, we are the leaders, ALL OF US, need to unite and Stand Together and show the world how things should be. We cannot wait for some other person to do it. We cannot continue to hide in our own baggage and the baggage of the un-united church. We can no longer sit in our seats.
The four brave black college students of Greensboro A&T had a sit in and started change. Sitting, and hiding, is not working. Let us stand together and fight this division that has set in on our homeland. We Average Joe’s are the leaders, lets’ stand together and show we really do care.
Words are a start, but so much more needs to come from us with the light-colored skin tone. If this were my child or relative, I too would be outraged. I was there when my sister was murdered with a gun by a white guy. I was on TV and in the courtroom ready to let the world know we were not happy. I know what I did when faced with such an atrocity. The disunity that is coming between all peoples needs to come to an end. I start by saying I CARE! I stand together, as the picture that was taken ironically two days ago, with those of the past and share my outrage at what happened before. I share the outrage of discrimination and racism that is happening in every facet of our society today. Without love and unity, the ‘God Bless America’ statement on my shirt means nothing.
I am with you who are feeling oppressed. Although I don’t know how to fix this massive problem, know that whatever it takes to change this huge mess, I am ready to sit, stand, fight or whatever it takes, to tackle this problem. I do know, with the love that comes from the King who lives inside me, I can say it and show it. Although I cannot do it alone, I will try. Are you ready to stand as well?