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Blog: THE Point

7/8/2016
By Grant Oliphant

DALLAS

Only hours after posting the blog entry to the left, horrifying events unfolded in Dallas, Texas with the shootings of police officers. "Enough, no more" is more relevant than ever.


 

One day later and the anguished cry, “Enough, no more” feels more horrifyingly relevant than ever. Now is a moment that tests us as a people and as communities. Now is a moment that calls us to prove who we really are, what we really stand for, what type of world we really want to create for our children.

Our hearts break today, just as they broke the day before. But it is not enough for our hearts to bleed, or our chests to swell in righteous anger. It is a time for mourning, but it is not enough for us to mourn, let alone mourn only those victims we most identify with.

We are called – by everything our diverse faiths teach us, by everything we believe about ourselves and our country – to come together as one people, whether we bravely wear the blue or have come to fear those who do. We are called by all that is good in our hearts to see ourselves in all the fallen, all the lives lost, all the families grieving, all the communities struggling to make sense of their brokenness.

We are better than this violence. Deep down in our souls we know this. We are so, so much better than this.

But only through our effort can that be true. Only through our effort can we deliver on the promise of the better angels inside of us.

My friend Candi Castleberry Singleton, founder of the Dignity & Respect Campaign, last night in her sadness wrote on Facebook precisely what must happen next: “We must come together as police and communities—people of all ethnic backgrounds, and all ages, and all faiths…and you and me. We must come together as humans…We must come together as Americans.”

It is just that: We must come together now. In an hour of terrible division, across all our differences and all the ways we label each other, we must have the courage to see ourselves as one, to meet as one, to be one—to hear each other, respect each other, learn from each other.

Violence will not free us; it will only ruin us, breeding only more of itself. The great Irish poet Seamus Heaney, whose brave work spoke heartbreaking truths amid the endless cycles of murder and revenge in Northern Ireland, urged his readers in one famous poem to “Hope for a great sea-change/On the far side of revenge./ Believe that further shore/ is reachable from here.” He wrote:

“History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.”

Let us send up our prayers. Let us grieve and mourn, feel what we feel, console ourselves and one another. But above all let us remember this:

We can be that tidal wave that carries us to the far side of all that tears us apart. We can be that rhyme. We can bring that hope to our children, not later, not one day, but now, on this side of the grave.

That is our test. That is our moment. And there is one way, and only one way, we can succeed: together.

African American men, community, guns, police, unity, violence
Written by

Grant Oliphant

President

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3 comments

john kobara

7/18/2016 at 12:21 PM

Grant: Thank you for your words and guidance. With more deaths I think we are now beyond words on this side of the grave. Not less hopeful but speechless. The media is also whipping this up and we must remind ourselves of our own roles to support the longer arc of justice and peace. John

Charlene Newkirk

7/8/2016 at 7:38 PM

Agsin. Thanks. 

Bruce Trachtenberg

7/8/2016 at 9:45 AM

On point, again. Thank you.

BTW...As I reflect on your two pieces, I'm also recalling your excellent "countdown" talk in which you ask us to imagine a coundown clock without a reset button. https://youtu.be/QWnSxFN6mbI  This may be one of those moments.

 
 
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