The United States of America burns, and if you didn't see it coming then you weren't paying attention.
Before you berate me for "justifying" violence, hear me out. For starters, I don't agree with looting. I don't agree with violence against innocent people.
Yet, in this day, I completely understand it.
Setting aside all conspiracy theories for a second, you'd have to be living under a rock to not notice the growing voice of a hurting and disheartened Black community. To ignore such a cry for so long can and will only end in violence — it is the last resort, the last straw of a desperate people group who have to scream louder in order to be heard (or taken seriously).
I'm 100% white. About as white as it gets, and I've heard the cries of injustice for most of my adult life. I've also seen just about every cry for justice be ignored (or written off) by my Christian and white brothers and sisters for nearly as long.
In the beginning, I wasn't sure what to believe. Was racism really still a thing? I thought this ended after Abraham Lincoln became the hero of our history books and ended the oppression of slavery.
And yet, here we are.
I'm not sure where to stand or what to say. On the one hand, I decry the mindless destruction happening within our country, tearing us apart — but I also wonder if we've been torn apart for quite some time, and it's only now boiling to the surface.
America is no longer the beacon of hope in the world that I grew up believing and hoping it was. And humanity? Well — we're not exactly winning either. As much as I wish it wasn't so, there is no clean slate when we enter this world — we all have to pick up the pieces of those who came before us. To pretend otherwise is to cause more pain.
I dream of a better day, where everyone is healed of their hate and pain, ego and pride, and numbed apathy. But that day is not today.
Whatever your disposition to recent events, I hope you take a moment of silence, and acknowledge the brokenness of our generation — not that of your neighbor, but your own.
People are always hurting, but the people hurting in front of us right now — through the shattering sound of protest, and yes, violence — are Black. They deserve our compassion, our empathy, and validation. Just because you may not understand or see the racism does not mean it doesn't exist for them on a daily basis.
I'm not sure how to start picking up the pieces. But I will, until the day I die, join and champion any voice that says Black Lives Matter.
Because they do.