Hope in the Midst of Rumors

This city is starting to rumble.

There is word that the verdict on Officer Darren Wilson will be released next week. There are rumors of what the implications will be on St. Louis.

Rumors fly of planned buses of people coming in to destroy, of organized looting, vandalism, and targeted people groups.

Whatever comes in the next few weeks, know that there is more to the story than you will hear in the news.

There are groups across the city that are gathering regularly to work through a long history of segregation and racism. There are churches that live on the lines of racial divides and do the long, hard work of reconciliation regularly.

In my community, there is an organization called the “Alliance for Interracial Dignity.” It began in 2012, recognizing that there was a need for talks and healing.

They exist for “bringing communities together by learning from our collective past, challenging the racial status quo and building strong community.”

I’ve sat in church basements or meeting rooms with them as we discussed some emotionally charged issues. We watched a film on “White Privilege” together and sat in groups of mixed skin tones discussing our unique and collective experiences.

There is a strength and grace in people willing to meet together to learn from each other. It’s messy and it’s beautiful.

We are talking community members of all races and life experiences sitting together.

There are community leaders and police officers who care and are involved.

I listened the last time we met as an African American community member told the story of the way her son had been treated disrespectfully by a police officer simply for driving in her neighborhood.

Then watch as a leader in that Police department handed her his contact information and vowed to work alongside her to bring justice and healing into that situation.

It’s slow. It’s real people, flesh and blood, sitting alongside each other and telling stories, learning different perspectives, and putting down their guards.

My son interrupted me a while ago, because he really wanted to sing me a song he learned at church. It was perfect and I think I will end with his song:

“My God is so Big

So strong and so mighty,

There’s nothing my God cannot do.”

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