My heart has been deeply stirred by the recent events and culmination of violence that reveals America’s desperate need for transformation.

Right now, we have the amazing ability to create solutions that will curtail the senseless violence we have witnessed and experienced over the last week in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Dallas, but we cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking and behaving that created the violence in the first place.

We must stop talking at each other and start listening to each other.

It’s difficult I know, but it’s worth it. I have read numerous posts on my news feed, scanned articles, tuned into broadcasts on various networks, and I have agreed with some and had strong reactions to others.

We have to change the perspective that demands that someone be wrong in order for my opinion to be right or if I am FOR one thing I must unyieldingly OPPOSE the other. What if there is a grain of truth in what everyone is saying? What if we approach the conversation with the idea that all of us have something to learn from each other? As long as we stay fixed in our way of seeing things, we are blind to other viewpoints.

This web of violence will never be untangled until we resist our historical nature to pull away from each other. We must be willing to bring our diverse voices together and consider the myriad of solutions that must be implemented to end this violence today.

All lives matter when we act like all of them do.

Yes, ALL lives matter. Mine, yours, black, brown, red, white, yellow, bi-racial, bi-sexual, straight, gay, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, non-religious, spiritual… police and civilian lives matter. But that message is not unifying just because we say it. The all lives matter message is only congruent when our actions show it, because actions speak louder than words.

Martin Luther King, Jr., once said “the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.” Sadly, this is still true of the majority of churches today. Some of my Christian friends say “evil” is the source of the violence, and I don’t disagree with them because as one writer said, “race is not a matter of the law; it is a matter of the heart.” I believe that a higher demonstration of LOVE will drive out evil (hate and fear), and we cannot legislate that — we must embody it. Imagine all of us (religious, non-religious, spiritual, human…) walking in step with the gospel of love and recognizing our interconnection, where what happens to you also happens to me. That kind of love will dramatically desegregate our Sunday mornings and transform our nation.

We must find solutions to racial inequality and gun violence.

Some say “stricter gun laws” and “criminal justice reform” will end this kind of violence. I don’t disagree. Why would any peace-abiding American citizen want to own a semi- or fully-automatic weapon if it also means those wishing to commit terror, mass-killing, and hate crimes can easily acquire them too? Furthermore, I’ve read numerous studies that show incarceration rates disproportionately impact people of color. We are twice as likely to be arrested and four times as likely to experience force with police than white drivers. And, while people of color make up only 30% of the US population, we make up 60% of the prison population. At this rate, our nation’s criminal justice system will soon be “just us.” Why would fellow citizens refuse to see the racial disparity in our broken policies or support reform to achieve racial equality?

The blood from the violence this week cries out for a constructive dialogue between all points of view. We must be willing…

  • To engage in sometimes uncomfortable conversations about race, guns, and love.
  • To be wrong and to change our minds.
  • To listen to opposing opinions without becoming gridlocked in our arguments.

This is the only way we will create solutions that will end the violence and collapse the walls that divide us.

We cannot continue to take sides or stay quiet and expect things to change.

We cannot remain complacent in our own privilege, as our silence further perpetuates the problem. I am not calling only those that agree with me, but on those that also have a different experience. Together, we can transform America into a united love for all, one nation, under our country’s motto E pluribus unum — out of many, one.

Your voice matters!

Leave a comment and let’s have a conversation that matters and makes a difference for ALL lives.