In April 2015, I wrote a column titled “Love offers answers to many problems.” I talked about how love overwhelming hate can lead to a more "united" country and world. I described how I believed the lack of love causes some to allow hate to manifest itself through their actions. I presented the idea that if we can communicate more often in love, we may be able to rid the world of some of its problems.
Fifteen months later I am left wondering how much more love will it take to see a change in the tide. The first full week of July was undoubtedly one of the hardest weeks in recent memory. July 5 presented itself with a new hashtag, #AltonSterling. July 6 didn’t allow July 5 to upstage it by presenting its own hashtag, #PhilandoCastile. July 8 culminated the work week with the hashtag, #DallasPoliceShootings. Three days, multiple deaths and a country that is left to face the harsh realities of its systematic problems once again.
I could write for hours about all the unarmed black men and women who have been killed by law enforcement. Or I could write about the rampant racism I see being spewed all over the TV and on social media. Or I could write about how no one should be screaming #AllLivesMatter when black lives don’t.
However, I have chosen not to hone in on those issues for a few reasons. 1) I have used many platforms to express how I feel about what is going on. 2) I don’t feel like explaining once again why we say #BlackLivesMatter. 3) If you can’t understand why people are upset at the amount of unarmed black men and women who have been killed by law enforcement who are then either A) not charged with a crime or B) found not guilty, then you’re part of the problem. It’s that simple.
What I will do is use this platform to encourage us all to thoroughly examine ourselves, on the inside. Some of you may be pleased with what you find. Some of you may be disgusted with what you uncover. Regardless of what you find, one thing I do know is that we can all do better -- every one of us -- if we choose to.
I am involved in a few organizations in town, but there is not a day that goes by where I don’t feel like I should be doing more. Honestly, it has been hard to find a balance. For as much as I am involved in now, I need and want to do more to try and make things better for the next generation. Does that mean I immerse myself in every opportunity that comes my way? Nope. What it does mean is that I find a way to contribute, preferably on the grassroots level, to helping eradicate some of this foolishness. I am hoping you will want to join me in these efforts as well.
Now that you have examined your heart, what’s the next step? First, ask yourself how you can be part of the solution then figure out where your works are needed most. Does the community need more mentors? Does it need someone to organize protests and rallies? Does it need someone who is willing to bring together people of different backgrounds to pray for peace? Does it need someone to speak to state and federal legislators on their behalf? Does it need someone to go to school to obtain their Juris Doctor so it can affect change in the judicial system? Does it need someone who is willing to help bridge the gap between itself and law enforcement?
I don’t have all the answers, but I think what I suggested is a good start. We are long past the days where posting statuses and hours-long dialogue is sufficient. We need action and we need it now. We need to start pursuing the changes we seek, immediately. We can’t wait on the next person because there may not be a next person. You may be it. You may be the last resort to make significant change in your neighborhood, community, school, city, county, state or nation.
I am challenging you to figure out what you can do. If we all sit around and do nothing or wait for something to happen, then nothing will ever change. None of this is going to happen overnight. The pursuit must be relentless, and it will probably take years before we see any real changes. As discouraging as that may be, ask yourself, is it not worth it in order to leave the next generation a better world than we presently live in?
Kassaundra S. Lockhart is praying for a more peaceful world as she seeks to be a change agent in her community.