I'm not going to use this blog to discuss the case or the events that transpired last night. Everyone will have an opinion, blame to cast, or words that indicate a certainty that they know a path forward.
What truly matters in times like these are the intangible things in our nature; what we are made of, what we believe in, our core values. We like to talk about our values, but they truly don't mean much until they are put to the test.
One thing I know for sure: only in the fire of discord, injustice and strife do we find out the fabric of our nature and beliefs.
For me, as disturbed as I may feel today, both as a community leader as and a father of two sons, I know in my soul that violence is not the answer to persistent injustice. Many before me have given their lives for this credo.
They suffered indignities and injustices that we can barely contemplate, but they kept their faith and history has rewarded them.
It's easy to hang a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. on your wall and quote his speeches. But, you can't truly appreciate the power and dignity of his message until you feel your own righteous anger rise up against injustice. Until you feel moved to lash out against an unfair system. Until your soul shakes remembering all the times this has happened before and all the times it could again.
Then, only then, will you understand the incredible courage and grace that are in these words;
Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
-Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.