“What are your solutions? How would they fix things such that Ahmaud’s death would be the last tragedy? Please be specific as generalities are the cesspool in which good ideas rot into ineffectiveness…I don’t see said camp offering up any actionable solutions that will effect substantive change.
In short, I’m asking this:
As a leader, if you had all the power in the world to change everything, how would you solve this problem?”
As I read this post on my facebook page, I couldn’t help but marvel at the intent of the author. This person is asking for solutions!
At the same time though, I could sense his exasperation. I could sense his impatience with all the emotion spilled out on social media. Where were these solutions? Where was the change? I want to see it with my own eyes.
How greatly do I empathize with those feelings.
The author of this post asked me several questions from several different perspectives. I knew immediately, that a short reply to his post would be insufficient. So, I moved my response over to my blog in hopes of having a better avenue of sharing my thoughts and reaching a wider audience.
Starting in reverse order, he asked me, “As a leader, if you had all the power in the world to change everything, how would you solve this problem?” This question struck me at the onset. It made me think of my ex-fiancé, and how he used to tell me that my words mattered. It’s so true. To summarize everything from the perspective that if I was a “leader” and had all the “power in the world,” suggests several things. It suggests that the author of this question is looking for a political solution. It suggests that the author of this question is looking for a single reference point to look toward and say, “this is what made it happen.” It also bottlenecks me into a single way of answering what I think is the solution, when my first, second, and third solutions would not have begun with, “if I had the power.” In short, I’m sorry friend, I cannot answer this question.
I next want to address the statement, “I don’t see said camp offering up any actionable solutions that will effect substantive change.” To that statement, I have several questions. But, I think my primary questions is, “Where are you looking for the substantive change?” It seems like the desire is to see things righted overnight. How I wish that could be achieved! To say, “I don’t see said camp offering up any actionable solutions,” is an understandable statement, but is nevertheless only a perspective. I would offer a different perspective. I see the same camp signing petitions both for the arrest of the murderers and the dismissal of the district attorney who denied their arrests back in February. I see the same camp raising awareness across the globe, telling and retelling Ahmaud’s story. I see the same camp forcing a massive audience to watch the horrific death of this young man – compelling a population to accept that racism is not dead in our nation. I also see the camp growing! Martin Luther King Jr. said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal,” and “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,” as well as, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” In short, I see the camp not so much offering solutions as they are being the solution. They are speaking. They are sharing. And they are encouraging others to do the same. Like a ripple effect, one person sharing a video, one person sharing the victim’s name, and within the same week, the murderers were arrested.
Justice would be substantive change.
A movement, across demographics, is substantive change.
You just have to open your aperture enough to see it.
Lastly, I will address the compounded question that came with passionate and sincere cadence, “I ask you, as a Christian, as a woman, as an officer, and as an American what are your solutions?”
For this question, my thoughts immediately went to my Lord and Savior. During his lifetime, the vast majority of Jews wanted political and economic salvation from the Roman rule. As they prayed and reflected on the prophesies of Isaiah, their eyes were searching for a leader – perhaps a warrior – who would overthrow their oppressors and free them from their enslavement. He was God after all…and He had all the power in the world.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.
Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name above all names that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
To answer this question then, As a Christian, I will continue to pursue being like Christ.
It just so happens that I’m over halfway finished listening to audio version of Michelle Obama’s book Becoming. And it just so happens that on the same day I’m asked, “what would Lyndsey do,” I hear the most truthful words, “I’ve learned it’s harder to hate close up.” It just so happens, that I don’t think that any of this was happenstance!
Knowing that my own ignorance and discriminatory thoughts took years of revision, I know that my own mindset toward other races and nationalities changed when I got up close to them. When I listened to their stories, I heard their humanity. And I realized the absolute wrongfulness of stereotypes. From sitting in the home of a patriotic, Hispanic Navy Captain, born from illegal immigrants to sharing tea and dates with a Shia Muslim as we discussed ways to eradicate and free people from the fearful grip of terrorism, I found myself thinking the exact same thing, “how is it possible to hate these people?”
My dear friend, I offer you many solutions, but none of them are immediate. Just as Christ’s work took the world one individual at a time, so must our work. It starts with speaking. It then moves to consistently repeating our testimony – our message – that there is only one acceptable way to live – like Christ. Bold. Humble. Serving. Loving. Active. We must then take that message “to all nations” and to all generations.
As a Christian, as a woman, as an officer in the Air Force, as an American, and as a cop this has been my message, and this is what I will continue to share.