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7.17.2016

Do Something - Do anything!



It is just all so blasted heartbreaking - infuriating - overwhelming.

Human caused disaster and mayhem. Injustice - systemic  and particular. Worse following bad.
Words do fail. But we cannot be inactive. We cannot afford inaction.

If every appalled human takes a single daily action towards kindness, towards justice, the sea will change, it has to. This I believe.

Here is one thing I saw humans do this week.






This was a local gathering called coffee with a cop.  It felt intrusive to take more than one picture, so this doesn't show even a quarter of the space, or the people of color, or the old biker gang guys, of the little children. There were probably 30 citizens and 20 cops. The cops were buying. They do this here in Salem once a month, always in a different neighborhood.  They did an extra one this month after,  Baton Rouge (the first time - save us!), Minneapolis and Dallas.  Two hours of ask anything, say anything, but let's just be people for a little bit.  I went because I  wanted to see someone in particular, and just because it was the only thing I could think of to do.  I saw a black, female pastor there. She said they members of the dept meet monthly with the pastors of the three black churches in Salem. I said I was glad of that. While I was waiting to get a chance to greet the man I was looking for, I talked with an officer. He did a lot of listening. I told him about my position working with marginalized students. How worried I was about them this summer. We agreed that it was not right that young people, especially boys of color, could not exercise their God-given right to be stupid and adolescent without very high risk. We both acknowledged that we had been stupid and adolescent and gotten away with it because of our age and privilege. I wanted to talk to him about my neuro-atypical kids, and how they don't react the way we think they should, and how they do not read people right. I worry about them a lot. God help my neuro-atypical kids of color. The Cop asked some really good questions and seemed genuinely interested. I called him to a high standard of human behavior in his work. Mostly though, we were just human together. Then I cut him loose to go talk to some actual adolescents.

Then I found this guy.
This is Lt. David Okada. He is Salem's public information officer. I serve with him and a group of  resource officers on the Salem-Keizer area Student threat assessment team. The goal of the team is to be a resource to every school in the area, and assess and suggest interventions for every student who shows signs of committing targeted violence (including mayhem).  The teams is made up of educators, law enforcement, mental health workers and juvenile justice representatives. It is grim work at times. But the goal is not to catch bad eggs and contain them, so much as to identify children at risk and put supports in place in their lives that will improve their lives. To gently push their pathway towards hope and a future.  It is a practical procedural for loving your (potential) enemy. We invest in them, because they deserve nothing less.  Does it work? - So far so good.

I just wanted to see Dave because he is presently my favorite cop. He is a pragmatic optimist. He has a sense of humor. He wears integrity like he wears the uniform. I believe in him. We commiserated a bit. We enjoyed the surrounding event. We hoped it would help. We both knew it might not be anywhere close to enough, but it was what we could do today. I told him that I pray for him, he thanked me for that.


Tomorrow I will have to think of something else to do.

Do something to humanize your potential enemy today.  Do Justice. Do kindness. Do Mercy. Walk humbly. Speak up. Support the people on the front-lines of Peace and Justice. Reject fear. Examine your own thoughts and feelings. Call yourself to a higher standard of humanity. Do something, do anything. It is our only hope.

.


Comments:
Peggy,

Thanks so much for writing this glowingly positive and real article.

I've been deeply troubled not only by the many injustices in our nation including in our criminal justice system, but also by how police officers as a group (and others such as judges) have been unfairly verbally attacked.

I am very thankful that these Salem officers and people get together to share, confront, and grow together.

Much appreciated.
 
Thank you for this!
 
Dear Peggy, et al,
Thank you. Hope is good. Earlier last week I received the following advice (more or less) from an unexpected source that seems to apply.
"When the goal seems far away, the obstacles immense, and one's abilities not up to the task, the think to do is focus less, or not at all for a while, on that lofty and distant goal and JUST DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING."
I'm going to Arizona to see Calvin. We'll see what opportunities arise.
Yours hopefully,
Joe
 
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