Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pastoral Response to the Police Killings

I am the son of a NYPD officer, proudly so. But the news of the past 24 hours has rankled me.

2 different black men, in 2 different cities shot dead by officers of the Law. Their names are Cameron Sterling and Philando Castile. I don't know the full story or the circumstances, or the facts.

But I am crying. The events at PULSE have woken me and I can no longer stay safely numb.

I am crying because the reality is something I've known for awhile but I fooled myself into not thinking about:

That Cameron or Philando could have been one of my own people.

Now I have to worry about my friend Travis- what if he's in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or Josh from the theatre. I have to worry about my friend's husband, Sitting Bull. I have to worry about my classmate, Nelson . I have to worry about my clergy peer, Don. I have to worry about aspiring politician Allen.

I have to worry about my Little Brother Cornelius.

He is only 12 years old. But every time I see him, he's grown taller, his voice has become deeper, he's looking more and more like a teenage boy. By 16-18 Cornelius will look like a man, therefor making him a possible target for the police if he's ever in the wrong place at the wrong time, or simply just seen as a threat for being a black man.

This scares me. This worries me. This hurts. I wish he could stay 12 forever so he does not run the risk or being arrested, imprisoned, or shot for doing something like selling cigarettes, selling cds or driving with a broken taillight.

I don't how to respond to the events of the last 24 hours, or how to act. For now, my tears over the fear that one day Cornelius could be a statistic is all I have.

The police force is broke. Our way of dealing with guns is broke. The way we treat black boys/teens/men is broke. And we need to be honest about it, stop making excuses, and listen.

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