President Barack Obama has called for “soul searching” but I wonder what are we in search of? What are we looking for that might challenge us to do what is right, just and fair in the eyes of the Law? What do we need that would allow us to look into the eyes of another human being and see ourselves? What are we missing when six officers act in concert to deny the pleas of twenty- five year old Freddie Gray for medical attention and ultimately to save his life? What have we lost when we find it easier to set buildings on fire than to set up meetings with community leaders and government officials?
I know that we’re looking for more than one thing, that this will not be a one- stop conversation. I am sure that we will not find it with the change of government administrations or with the implementation of committees, councils and town hall meetings. No, each of us must do the work. I am certain that we are not looking for one person, one answer, one guilty verdict… or six. No, the search will involve us all and a serious look at the ways in which we have collaborated with a community that judges based on the social coloring of skin, that cares not for the human soul, the life force that she and he represents.
I only ask that we not delay the process, that we not make excuses or judgments that might prevent us from looking for as long as it takes, that we remove the red tape and let down our guard. I ask that we not hide what needs to be healed, that we do the hard work and not take the easy way out via denial and apathy, anger and resentment, self – segregation and white flight. I beg us not to give up on the search for the goodness that lies in the depths of us, that we not just scratch the surface and pretend that a discovery has been made. Instead, I pray that we might dig deeper so that families don’t have to lower their sons and daughters six feet deeper than they should be, that we might have a better life above ground that is truer and richer life after the death of Freddie Gray.
God, have mercy on us as we search our souls. Amen.