There sure is a lot going on in the world, and we know so much more about it because of technology. There have been earthquakes, avalanches and community violence for millenia. We are just the first to have it in our faces 24/7 on Instagram and Twitter. The style and pace of the coverage makes it easy to gloss over as so many images draw the attention of the TV and Internet and Selfie cameras.
#prayforbaltimore can easily become a cliche instead of intention.
Our prayers get lost in the noise, and the good intentions get lost in the crowded computer screens. “Broken backs and broken windows.” The insightful commentary can become lost in the sound bites.
In Baltimore, it is hard to move forward when the “sides” that get drawn focus on blaming and continuing the polarizing actions that contributed to the violence.
My perspective is different than most “white chicks from the suburbs” because of my work with kids in criminal and juvenile justice systems for so much of my career. I was the CEO of a residential program for young men much like the ones that over-ran the streets in Baltimore this week. My goal was to prevent exactly what just happened.
In early 2006, the kids had a fight in our school that led to a confrontation with the State Police, and we were “breaking news at 11” for two very long nights. Neither side was fully in the right then, either. I still pray for the kids who ended up in jail that week and wonder what I could have done to prevent it. And, I pray for the police who thought they needed to “take control” of a situation that had been contained for quite some time before they arrived with mace and threats and force, and wondered why the kids reacted poorly.
And, so today and for months to come I will #prayforbaltimore. Pray for the kids and for the parents – black, white, brown and mixed. And, pray for the police – for healing and wisdom. And, I pray that the messages being delivered via mass media, social media and kitchen table conversations about how we treat each other be thoughtful and based on our shared humanity, and not on our fears and differences.
I hope that you will join me in that prayer. It’s what we Can Do.