It should not be normal to go to your place of worship, a concert, the grocery store, a movie theater - or simply exist in your community - and feel unsafe. This isn’t new. It has been true for members of marginalized communities since the beginning of time - targeted and persecuted for simply being. But this troubling reality has come into sharpened focus as violence has crept into every space and every community. After the tragic events of last week, our hearts are aching, alongside many others.
We live with constant streaming headlines. With the volume of information that comes our way, it’s even possible to find ourselves numbed by the ongoing atrocities in our world. To stand in solidarity with any community affected by injustice, it’s not enough to listen to a podcast to understand the nuances of what happened or to offer simple expressions of sadness in a post to our friends. Bearing witness is important but it fades quickly and has little lasting impact.
Grief induced by injustice extends far beyond the short mourning period our screens tempt us to experience. We do have to continue moving forward, but taking time to honor the grieving process is a sacred act. Are we turning to our neighbors to share the emotional burden? Are we paying attention to communities in the months and years after the news cameras have left - when their stories are no longer being told? Are we giving resources to those asking for support?
As witnesses to tragedy, terrorism, and bigotry - what will it take to compel us to act? Not just today, or tomorrow - before our attention has shifted to something else - but through everyday actions to commemorate the lives lost as individual acts of oppression persist.