“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Creator.
Matthew 5: 38-45
Dear friends who are white,
We have work to do.  There is violence befalling loved ones based on the color of their skin.  This is nothing new.  Far from it.  But it is happening.  And we have the “privilege” of choice.  I say “we”, not as some “enlightened” white person, but as someone who is in the midst of this work, myself.  We, I, have the “privilege” of making choices that others do not.    
Option 1- We can live into the “otherness” that this is happening to someone else, that each of these stories are isolated incidents and not part of a greater ongoing problem, or make excuses about why it is not our problem.  And we find some way to qualify or rationalize the devaluing of human life.  
Option 2- We can talk a good game about how awful it is, but still keep communities of color at arm’s length. We can even act in ways that are convenient and marginally impactful, but don’t make us feel guilty or defensive.
We can make a big scene about our commitment to social justice that looks good, but is really more about making ourselves feel good and righteous, but lacks real empathy or relationship.
Or we can choose to commit to a mindset shift in ways that challenge our paradigm.  We can recognize that the power systems that exist today are not that far removed from the segregated systems that were legal, less than a century ago.  And that proximity on the timeline of history means that there continue to be people in our midst that lived and developed their ideologies before the Civil Rights movement, which means they have taught and influenced, consciously or subconsciously, where we are today.  The mindset of “otherness”, or seeing persons of color as “less than” or even “the enemy” are ancient history and affect us still, today.
Our privilege is born out of our heritage, and many have rose against it over time.  We can do so, too.  It means committing our time, energy, resources, etc. to the benefit of those who have been victimized and oppressed for racial and ethnic reasons.  We take the time to learn history.  We listen instead of talk, we take on a humble heart and recognize  we have much to learn.  And we break down the walls of otherness and stop playing into generalizations that lead to negative stigmas that justify violence. 
Today, on this Mother’s Day, grieve with a raw heart with Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of Ahmaud Arbery, and remember Mamie Till Bradley, mother of Emmitt Till, a young man whose vile lynching was forced into the light of day by a mother with a commitment to justice, not just for her own child, but for all other children who may be so victimized, gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement and changed the lives of millions.  
God of us all, may we be people of justice, and have the vision of your son, Jesus, that we see all as your Beloved and family members we are called to advocate for in the face of violence and oppression.  Amen
Please listen to the voice of Sterling Brown.  His message is more important than mine, and I invite you into FEELING.  Feel this pain.  Not as someone different, but as a human that grieves the egregious violence and disgusting disregard of the legal system with regard to the Ahmaud Arbery case:

Did this live and didn’t think I’d post, but a friend convinced me otherwise. So here it is. #Hewasjustjogging 🕉

Posted by Sterling K. Brown on Friday, May 8, 2020

My videos before and after my run.