There was heartrending news from South Carolina yesterday. Another hate crime, with a large death toll, but this time carried out inside a church.
Violence is not new to the African American community. Violence within an African American church is not new. What is stunning and new is that a woman was left alive to repeat the message of hate.
People are outraged, but people are heartbroken even more. It may seem overwhelmingly difficult to fight back against this hateful message, but we can work to make a seismic shift.
We can make new pathways from those broken places. If we can stay connected to our own hearts, our own pain, our action will be measured and effective. We can have a greater impact than any anger can have, if we hold hands and stand together, mindful of our pain and anger, but acting from love.
We need to see clearly that this young shooter’s hate grew from a culture of hate. Responding with hate only strengthens hate. Compassion and love are not weak responses. It takes almost superhuman strength to respond to this level of hate with compassion. Almost superhuman. Almost. Each of us has the capacity to shift our awareness to our hearts. Each of us has the strength to feel the heartbreak and still love one another.
It is past time to simply step away from hate and step into our compassion. It’s our choice to make.