A Prayer

Black screen

Today, all four of the police officers who were involved with the death of George Floyd were formally charged. We have all seen the sickening footage of Floyd’s last moments in those men’s custody.

We have also seen the news and our social media feeds filled with images of violence and destruction.

Many Americans, rightfully, are calling for justice. Not only justice for George Floyd, but a more just and equal society where the lives of people like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others like them would not be taken through such heinous acts.

Yet as they march, there are those who take advantage of the disruption to riot, loot, steal, and destroy, even as Floyd’s own family begs for peace. Those who steal more than 80 cars, some worth more than $90,000. Those who smash businesses and destroy the livelihoods of many who were already reeling from the current pandemic. Those who, in that greatest and most infuriating of ironies, have taken the lives of others themselves. Lives like David Dorn, a retired African-American police officer killed when trying to protect a pawn shop in St. Louis.

It’s easy to feel terrified, anxious, depressed, or a mix of all three when we are so surrounded by all this darkness that it feels inescapable. In times like these, I think back to my childhood, watching Fred Rogers on PBS, telling children who were afraid of what they saw in the news.

“My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

Indeed, there are many helpers out there trying to make a positive difference, even now. The same social media that shows broken glass, spray paint, and fire everywhere also shows brave protesters confronting the rioters and looters. This video shows people in New York protecting their Target store. This one shows UFC champion Jon Jones stopping rioters from spraying graffiti. This one shows a police officer from Flint, Michigan speaking to protesters, not in confrontation, but in solidarity.

These recent news headlines have shown us all the bad in humanity. What is far too often lost in that picture is the good in humanity. Right now, we need to see more of the good.

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” U.S. Declaration of Independence