الحمد لله ב”ה
So I’m living here in Oakland now.
I’ve been feeling the need to connect and/or be responsive to the people around me. I see a fair amount of suffering and poverty, as well as the slightly hardened way many people walk when they are surrounded by folks in need. And I need to do something different.
I have been doing my usual thing: I smile to people as I walk, and I give to folks who are in need, but I feel like I’ve been blessed with a lot and I should share more of it. Share more of my money, my time, my self.
There have been protests here lately as well, and I haven’t taken the time to find out where and when they are, and if there is some agenda there that I can support. I was actually traveling on a road trip through Saint Louis back in August when Michael Brown was shot. I was 25 miles away when it happened. Feels odd to be so disconnected from the aftermath.
There has, of course, been a lot of emotional response to the event. So many of us think we know what happened, even though we weren’t there, even though the eyewitness testimony is so all over the map. Because we tend to see events like this through a pre-determined lens of however we already understand the world to be.
But what I see is that even though I have little idea exactly what happened in Ferguson, I do see communities that are so angry and resentful over years of exclusion and mistreatment that a single incident of this kind can induce riots. What kind of a country are we living in when a large segment of the population is that bitter?
And there of course the over-reactions to those reactions, and so on. A lack of any kind of reasonable public discourse, it has seemed to me.
So I was pleasantly surprised to read Chris Martin’s http://chrismartinwrites.com/2014/11/26/open-letter-to-the-parents-of-michael-brown/.
I still don’t know what I’m going to do. But I do appreciate the thoughtful and feeling response to tragedy. Nicely done.