This blog was first published on http://www.memphisk12.education
By LaShundra Richmond
I am not even shocked anymore at the latest news of racist acts throughout my own city, state, and even country. Seemingly, it has become the new norm amongst individuals to casually open fire in public places and kill those who are of a different ethnic descent. Words fail me continuously as I wrestle with my own emotions and thoughts and try to wrap my head around what’s really happening in the streets and communities of this country where we’ve been taught to sing, “home of the brave, land of the free.” I don’t even know where to begin. I guess it could make sense to start with the recent shooting in the Antioch neighborhood of Nashville, TN (less than 3 hours/230 miles) away from my city or let’g go to Florida where a teen used a sign with these words, “If I was a black, I’d be picking cotton, but I’m white so I’m picking u 4 prom,” invoking a racial stereotype. Either tragedy, in my opinion, is centered again around the notion that somehow racial discriminatory practices and heinous acts against people have become the norm in this country, where even lawmakers and government officials, in some cases, uphold this foolery.
In the case of the teenager from Florida, he offered a generic apology saying that his actions was merely joke; however, in the case of the 4 victims in Antioch, we can’t say the same. Families are hurting and communities are grieving. As a race, we are consistently outraged and as a young person who has spent many nights out with friends in a Waffle House establishment, the thought of someone coming in with such hatred and an armed weapon to intentionally do harm would of never crossed my mind. But in 2018, the thought indeed has to cross my mind because whereas my intentions of sitting in a public place just enjoying life is my only intention, others lurking in this country might not feel the same. Something is terribly wrong with a society when such acts has become a norm and a recurring breaking news story on all media outlets. It doesn’t have to hit close to home to be a reality and sting just the same.
What can one say to it all? Again, I’ve yet to find the perfect response. I think I am growing numb to it all; I don’t know if this is good or bad. Either way, I am highly disturbed and my prayers are simple:
Continue to cover us all, your people. Cover our minds and hearts and help us all to reconcile what is seemingly becoming all of our realities. Help us to remember that you have not given us a spirit of fear, but a sound mind. Dear Lord, I pray for all of those affected by the tragic acts of this past weekend, over the course of the last few months and years and years of turmoil, hatred and strife. I pray that we, your people, can continuously look to the hills from whence cometh our help. I pray our hearts are not hardened and we continue to seek you for peace, comfort and guidance. I pray for the aggressors, those that have decided in their hearts and minds to join the enemy’s plot to kill, steal, and destroy and pray fervently that the days of the wicked will indeed be few in number. I pray I live to see true freedom ring and our dreams for us to walk in brotherly love, unity and peace come true. I pray for this country, its leaders, and the lives of those impacted. I pray for our children that they are able to grow up with the belief in a “better country” despite the one that’s evident now and still know you’ve called them to be change agents, world leaders, and if nothing else, dreamers. I thank you for another day of life and allowing me to somehow do my part, with the grace and strength you’ve gifted me. I thank you for a right state of mind and being able to love people as you love us endlessly. Now God, grant us your continued grace and mercy. Give us divine wisdom on how to handle what is and what could be next and allow us, as people, to seek you for understanding and instruction. Help us with what we don’t understand, so at least we’ll have peace and when we can’t seem to figure it all out, show us what next to do. Help us to keep the legacies of those lost lifted and never forgotten as reminders of the continued struggle and the continued journey towards victory that’s already been promised to us in your word. I thank you for a moment to just come to you, as humbly as I know how. Praying for answers, praying for a resolve, praying for understanding, praying for comfort, and praying for peace.
In Jesus name, I submit this request.