My mind has been in a vortex of mixed emotions this past week. Upon returning from a family vacation in Michigan, it seems a river of sadness was about to wash over the hair on my head. When the wheels of my car crossed the bridge of the muddy Mississippi, my St. Louis town together with its people were about to change.
Yes, another young black man was killed by a white man in our country. This time it happened in Middle America, about thirty minutes north of my home. It’s been nearly a week yet the city that I love is still in turmoil. Protesters are in the streets day and night. Anger is palpable, not only seen but felt. Tear gas blinds. News anchors run. Fear is here.
Reports on CNN differ from hour to hour, day to day. Who is correct, what is the real story? Bottom line, a tragedy has occurred. Life has been snuffed out. A boy has been lost forever. “Justice,” rings aloud from the crowd…over and over again.
As a white woman, I will not pretend to know what it feels like to live in a black body. I do not. Still, I am human, I am a mother, and I live in a house located in a neighborhood where families are raised. I feel empathy.
My husband’s best friend of 25 years is a black man who lives in Jacksonville, Florida. Our families have vacationed together and visited each other’s homes on several different occasions. A few days ago, he called to say he does not understand why the protesting continues. The dead boy’s neighborhood is being destroyed. “Hasn’t enough harm been done,” he asked?
Not long ago, this same neighborhood is where I soaked the spirit of children’s imaginations while helping to encourage emotions on paper. Families were enthused at the prospect of their children’s lives lighting up. The community was on an upswing. My article, Writing Stars was inspired on that day, http://wp.me/p41md8-11W. I remember my husband stopping at the local ‘Quick Trip’ for a large plastic glass of iced tea. Today, it is the site of “Ground Zero.”
The police here and politicians all over the country are still investigating. I pray for peace, for no one else to get hurt. Who knows what the real story is, or when justice will happen, whatever that may be? I only know a piece of my city looks like a war zone. War kills. Haven’t we had enough of d.e.a.t.h.?
“Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy