Sometimes there are no words that can be enough. As a writer, I make my living off of them. And yet there are times that none will come which express thoughts and emotions appropriately.
We’ve been here before. Not even 11 months after the death of George Floyd, during the trial of the man accused of killing him, our corner of the nation is once again in the spotlight, facing heartbreak, outrage, protests, curfews, and violence after the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright. It’s a spotlight none of us wanted again.
Whether we admit it or not, we all have biases on what happened. We all have these biases because of our lived experiences or conceived beliefs. Biases are actually hardwired paths in our brain.
Can you do me a favor? Just for a moment, would you try setting aside your initial reaction to the event? Whatever lens that you may be viewing this time and story, pause your reaction for a moment and sit and acknowledge the grief. From every angle, there is sadness to be found. Lives have been permanently altered after this traumatic event.
There is a young man dead. His loved ones will never get to hug him, laugh with him, or talk to him again. Their lives are forever changed. For people of color, particularly the Black community, his death adds to the trauma and the fear they feel of being unfairly targeted.
There is also a police officer whose career has ended and criminal and civil litigation against her seems likely in her future, as well. Her life and the lives of those who love her are permanently changed.
As time passes, we will learn more about what happened. Was it on purpose or was it an accident? Was it his fault for resisting arrest? Was it her fault for shooting a deadly device by mistake? What about his alleged criminal past? Did she have a racial bias?
There will be a time we can debate those questions. But right now, I’m going to choose to see the pain of others, to sit in that pain, to mourn with those who mourn. Just for a moment, stop and see the fear and the pain in each other.
So take this space, the space left blank on this page, and use it as a symbol to pause. To pray. To lament. To extend a hand.
To see each other. To hear each other. To have compassion on one another despite our differences.
For that is love, and that is community, my friends.