crossing the lines.

Across the lines

Who would dare to go

Under the bridge

Over the tracks

That separates whites from blacks

Choose sides 

Run for your life

Tonight the riots begin

On the back streets of America

They kill the dreams of America

Little back girl gets assaulted

Ain’t no reason why

Newspaper prints the story

And racist tempers fly

Next day it starts a riot

Knives and guns are drawn

Two black boys get killed

One white boy goes blind

Across the lines

Who would dare to go

Under the bridge

Over the tracks

That separates whites from blacks

Choose sides 

Run for your life

Tonight the riots begin

On the back streets of America

They kill the dreams of America

Little black girl gets assaulted

Don’t no one know her name

Lots of people hurt and angry

Maybe she’s the one to blame

Across the lines

Who would dare to go

Under the bridge 

Over the tracks

That separates whites from blacks

Choose sides

Run for your lives

Tonight the riots begin

On the back streets of America

They kill the dreams of America.

Across The Lines, Tracy Chapman, 1988

Recently, we have been suffering greatly as a country collectively with the recent COVID-19 crisis and subsequent quarantines as it is reported that as much as a quarter of our country is out of work and we are definitely in a state of economic crisis.

Then on March 13th, Breonna Taylor was killed in her bed by police in Louisville, Kentucky. This all happened based on a no-knock warrant with some truly sketchy circumstances and it’s now apparent that her death was so so senseless.

It took longer than usual for this to reach national media attention – likely due to the COVID-19 coverage – but it did.

(I understand it is still being investigated in Louisville but I did see just this evening that the police chief was fired today.)

Then, on March 25th, two separate terrible racist incidents occurred that came to light nationally, one with more disastrous consequences than the other – but still both warrant our attention.

First, there is the horrific killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, who was held down with a knee to his neck for nine minutes during an arrest for allegedly passing a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. Throughout the recorded event, he can be heard stating that he could not breathe until he lost consciousness. Today his autopsy results were released and verified his caused of death was homicide due to having been restrained in this manner.

The four police officers involved have been terminated but only one has been charged in his death thus far.

Protests and riots continue daily throughout the country as a result. (We’ll return to that thought in just a bit.)

On the same day, in New York, in Central Park, a white woman named Amy Cooper decided to let her dog run off-leash in an area where that is not allowed. An African-American man named Chris Cooper, who was there to bird watch, asked her to put her dog back on leash as it was scaring off the birds. She refused and he began recording their exchange when she became belligerent.

She called 911, putting on a hysterical show, saying that a black man was threatening her life – while she was nearly choking her dog – when nothing could have been further from the truth.

As it happened, Mr. Cooper sent the video to his sister, who posted it to Twitter.

As a result, Amy Cooper was fired from her job, despite the half-baked “apology” she released, and she returned the dog to the rescue she adopted it from.

Though Mr. Cooper has been MORE than gracious about this episode, it is my hope that she will still be charged in this incident.

Here is an op-ed piece from Mr. Cooper’s sister. Please take a moment to read it.

Since the death of George Floyd in particular, protests and riots have been sweeping across the nation. Yesterday, in my hometown, a rally that began as, “Birmingham, the World is Watching,” a rally intended to demonstrate non-violent protest, ended in rioting, looting, and members of the press being attacked by some in attendance.

my church is in the middle of the area where last night’s riots occurred and is visible in much of the footage but sustained no damage. Church members are now covering the lawn with handmade love letters for our community. ❤

Tonight, the large Confederate monument that could not be torn down at yesterday’s rally is being taken down by the city and Birmingham and surrounding communities are all under curfew. The monument has been there longer than I’ve been alive and I’ve run past it at countless runs I’ve done throughout the years – and I’m finally seeing it come down on my phone as I type. Just wow.

(I also would note – just as an aside – that the monument is being removed on the state holiday observing confederate president Jefferson Davis’s birthday. Yes, that is STILL a thing here in my state. I’m so serious, y’all. #fixitjesus)

At the same time, the President spoke this evening and threatened to use the military on even peaceful protestors – though he has absolutely no right to do so.

These are deeply upsetting and frightening times and it is so hard to know what to do to help and be of service to hurting people and to our hurting community as a whole.

What I Do Know For Sure

While I can’t know how it feels to be in someone else’s shoes, I do know some unchanging truths right now.

First, as a Christian, I believe firmly in the Imago Dei – which is the belief that we are all made in the image of God. As such, we are all equally valuable in His sight – and we must be sure that, first, we as individuals are valuing all of our brothers and sisters in this manner. Then we must work to ensure that everyone is treated this way under the law and in society.

Also, there are numerous Scriptures that call us to care for, and to stand up for, those who are disenfranchised and who are being unfairly treated – and just to treat others well and with kindness.

  • Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9
  • The Lord executes acts of righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. – Psalm 103:6
  • The Lord of Armies says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the resident alien or the poor, and do not plot evil in your hearts against one another. – Zechariah 7:9-10
  • Provide justice for the needy and the fatherless, uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. – Psalms 82:3
  • He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8 
  • Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 7:12

It’s clear that there is only one thing we can do: stand together in the face of all of this ugliness and love one another and support one another.

Seek ways to be kind – to everyone.

Show the love of Christ – to everyone.

Let us all do our best to do so.

Let’s cross all the lines.

 

Be well, everybody. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Grace and Blessings.

One thought on “crossing the lines.

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: