My mind has been disturbed. That’s when I saw it. The video. It wasn’t a movie. I bet you saw it too.
Ever since I watched the last nine minutes of George Floyd’s life, I have been haunted by his cries. It was hard enough to hear him say he couldn’t breathe, but “Mama…Mama…” is on repeat in my mind. The emotionless face of the officer will forever be sketched in my head.
I don’t know George Floyd and I wasn’t there, but I am horrified. I am sad. I am outraged. I am shocked. The whole scene is just something I can’t un-see. In fact, it has opened my eyes like never before. Ya know—I’m just a middle-aged, middle-class-average-white woman. I’m not racist. At least I don’t think I am. I have black friends and acquaintances. I worked in child-care for many years and I never thought twice about cradling a white or black baby in my arms or wrapping little black or white arms around my neck. I’ve never hesitated to kiss anyone’s little baby cheeks. I have told black and white kiddos how special they are and how much I loved them and meant every word. Although I don’t work in child-care now, I have worked alongside black women and men in ministry, songwriting and more. And no, I don’t get scared if I happen to find myself alone with a black man. Because I don’t see myself as having issues with racism, and because I had never witnessed it first hand, I guess I somehow assumed maybe it didn’t exist. Shame on me. Really.
Here I am hundreds of miles from Minneapolis, but deeply affected. I can’t stop thinking about it and like so many others, I want to do something, but I don’t know what that is. Just yesterday I was in line at Chick-fil-a. For some reason, they had posted directional signs in the parking lot to form two lines of traffic, but yet no one was there to direct vehicles— it was confusing. I noticed a car to my right— the only one in the other lane trying to get over into mine. I admit, my first thought was to not let the person in because it wasn’t convenient and I was there first in the “right” place, but when I actually looked over, and noticed the driver was a beautiful, older African-American woman, tears immediately filled my eyes and I could hear Mr. Floyd again crying out for his mother. I motioned for her to pull in front of me. She didn’t see me at first, so I rolled down my window and encouraged her to pull in front of me. We had a friendly exchange. For the first time I saw a beautiful African-American woman and thought…she has worries and concerns that I could never possibly understand. She carries a fear for her sons and daughters and grandkids that I will never know. “God…Please protect her loved ones,” I whispered. And then I replayed the video again in my head and wondered how human beings could be so cruel. I thought how the blood in his veins must be frigid. By the time I got my lunch, I didn’t want to eat it.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Floyd’s family and friends. I know they’re asking for justice. Honestly, I don’t think even that is enough. This has to stop period. This hatred has to be learned behavior. I’ve worked with young children long enough to know babies and toddlers don’t care about skin color. What in the world goes wrong after that? I can’t wrap my mind around it. Just can’t.
Racism is real. I am so sorry that I have never seen it this clearly until I helplessly watched a man die. Not just die, but at the hands of people who were called and trained to serve and protect all the while by-standers begged for mercy. Like the mayor said, this wasn’t a case of an officer making a poor split-second decision in the heat of the moment. This lasted for minute after grueling minute. Unbelievable. Inexcusable. Although I don’t know what to do, I cannot be quiet about it.
I keep praying, “Come Holy Spirit we need Thee!” I need Him to reveal truth and shed His love in my heart like never before. Please Holy Spirit, comfort the Floyd Family and every single family and person that has suffered because of racism. Heal their hearts and open our eyes. Fill us with compassion and understanding. Fill us with decency and a will to do what is right and stand up and buck what is wrong. And for the bystanders that were so brave to expose evil, comfort them too! Please give your peace to the people of Minneapolis. Let the truth rise and justice be served. In Jesus Name…Amen.