Convo With the PoPo

popo1We took the family to a parade today.  When we arrived, it was colder than we thought so I took Liliana to the car to add more layers.  We were parked around the corner from our house, so Milton drove home to get my coat and a blanket for Maximus.  Maximus and Nana stayed and watched the parade.  While I waited for him to return, I decided to chat with the police officer that was directing traffic.

I’ll admit, I’ve had very little interactions with police officers.  I’ve had one speeding ticket and that’s really about all.

But, with all that is happening right now with black men being killed (i.e. Eric Garner and Mike Brown) I figured there was no time like today to talk to one.

As I walked up to him, he made a funny comment about Liliana’s legs in her baby carrier.  I told him I had a question to ask him.  I said, “What are your feelings with everything happening in today’s society with the police?” His expression was priceless. I listened to him give his viewpoint on everything, including how to start change.  It wasn’t a time for me to agree or disagree with him (which I did both), but a time to hear his view from his experiences.  He didn’t sugar coat his answers and you could tell he was still uncertain about some things.

Our conversation ended toward the time Milton pulled back up in his car.  At the end of the parade when Nana, Maximus and everyone was were walking back to the car, I introduced him to the family.  He gave Nana a hug and Maximus a high five and a sticker.

I know I didn’t solve all of the world’s problems with that one interaction.  However, I do know that I took one step toward improving relationships.  I know that I started exposing my toddler son to the police.  I know my mother-in-law who screams at the tv while watching CNN appreciated his small gesture.  I know that many police officers are friendly and approachable.

Change starts one person, one conversation at a time.popo2

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America Lost Last Night

America lost last night.

I have never seen so many racist and rude comments about the actual situation and personal attacks on those who disagree with each other as I did on social media yesterday and today.

In my opinion, there is a terrifying circle of violence occurring and I’m not sure how to make it cease. Unfortunately in today’s society, it seems that if someone is in a confrontational situation with a black male, it is considered acceptable not only to harm him, but to kill him. Even if he isn’t armed. Even if he didn’t initiate it. To me that’s terrifying. I look at my husband and son and pray they are never in that type of situation. I pray that people will erase their fear and instead see potential and passion in the hearts of these boys and men.

It’s equally terrifying that we have a society of people who feel very unvalued, oppressed and unheard. While their actions of looting are not excusable, it’s apparent they are calling out for help and change and unsure of how to do it. As horrific and embarrassing as their actions are, as threatening as they may seem, they are not going out killing people. They do not deserve to be killed. How do we help them feel valued as citizens with equal rights, protection and opportunity as others?

Anyone who says that racism does not exist in the “United” States of America, needs to wake up. It’s here and there’s no current working solution to help it improve. Hate is clear and present. I am truly blessed to have a diverse group of friends throughout the nation, but we ALL have a long way to go. Is it possible for us to heal – together?