The World Without Non-Violence

We ore on the verge of major unrest in this country. Let us prepare our children and loved ones to speak truth to power, resolve conflict nonviolently and work toward what is fast becoming inevitable change in our criminal justice system.

There will be those that will kick up sand just to keep the status quo. There will be those that will not see the undeniable tension, uneasiness and quiet disgust of some of our men and women in blue–there will be those that see the corruption but are fearful of speaking out. There will be those that do not understand that nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could.

There will be those who do not understand the deep resentment of the African-Americans who long before cell phones have been saying we are targeted only to be told it’s all in our heads. There will be those that do not see the  the kid with a toy gun who is shot and killed as an equal with a Police Officer who puts his life on the line day in and day out.  There will be no half mast flags for that kid and the many others.

Image courtesy NY Times

Violence is the language of the ignorant.

There will be those that will mistakenly see vengeance as the answer to our criminal justice problems and in the process become criminals themselves while destroying the very argument they are trying to make. These things will remain true. But there are other truths we can bring to fruition IF we choose to.

We can find ways to support good officers who see the problem even when they don’t voice it. We can find ways to be clever, and get them to hear our support and get them to reach out– to pull out the humanity in them that has been held hostage by understandable fear. We can believe even the hardest looking young man when he says “I didn’t do anything”.

We can teach our young people nonviolent methods and tools and bring in officers we trust in our community to meet with them and form a relationship.  Even though the teens may not trust all of them. I’ve done this. It works.  We can value and love our children so much that we will be a force to be reckoned with when any one of them is shot dead in the streets. We can monitor our own communities. This is our job.

We can march when a police officer is shot in the line of duty and ask.for an end to violence against police as well. We have technology. Parents can create KIK accounts to remain anonymous to alert other parents when something is wrong in a community parent group formed on the cellphone app. This has the potential to bring back the old days in a new form when if you did something your neighbor would come out and bring you home.

We can have mass meetings and break.into small groups to convene dialogues on race and community in our neighborhoods. We can list the policies that are creating the mess in the first place on social media and other outlets and then demand justice in the policy through protest and boycotts and the brilliant minds of civil rights lawyers and those that put themselves on the line for the cause of peace.

Most of all, let us LISTEN to all sides and recognize that a look or style of dress no more makes u a criminal than wearing the blue uniform does.  Let us bare witness to the real pain and suffering that now exists and determine that we have the power to change it.

Let us demand the resignation or firing of any officer who uses unnecessary force and stop putting them on temporary administrative leave. Let us not tolerate racism of any kind and challenge our white friends to see their privilege and challenge their friends and family to see theirs.

Let’s challenge people of color to resist internalized prejudice against ourselves and prejudice against white people by painting a broad brush that every single issue is a race issue.  Let’s continue to make noise and beat the drum of truth even when it is dark and ugly.

Finally, let us see the humanity in each other, work from this place and create a force of love that will cast away hatred and intolerance to the nothingness from whence it came and usher in a new era of peace,  resilience and justice. Look within for what you can do not for what someone else should.

-Cedric Shaw
T.R.Y.B.E. Force Inc.

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