Lessons from Ferguson: Hold the Door Open for the Person Behind You

As someone who lives just miles away from Ferguson, Mo., I can’t shake the feeling that I’m SUPPOSED to say something about it. But what  exactly to say??

There are too many voices shouting too many opinions already. Most aren’t that helpful, and some are just downright hateful. I don’t want to hear any of it.

The only message I want to hear is one of peace. But I KNOW it ain’t that easy. It’s naïve to think it is. But, still, that’s all I’ve got.

I’m heartbroken by what’s happening in my city. Absolutely heartbroken.

I’m heartbroken for the mama and papa who lost their child. For the soul who died a violet death. For the officer who I’m sure didn’t wake up that morning expecting to take another man’s life. For the preachers and elected officials and community leaders who, despite their best intentions, can’t seem to hold this community together.

But, most of all, I’m heartbroken for the people. I’m heartbroken for ALL the people – no matter what “side” of the issue they’re on – who have known fear… who have been oppressed… who don’t know the same kind of opportunity I’ve known… who, over the course of generations, have been made to feel “less than” in any and every way.

I’m angry, too. I’m so damn angry. I want to shake the looters and rioters by the shoulders and yell, “How dare you??” But I know that won’t help and I know the issues are so much bigger than that.

As the attorney for Michael Brown’s family said, “The system needs to be indicted.”

So the question now is this:


Here’s what we can’t do – not if we want change. We can’t hate. Can’t judge. Can’t vilify and demonize and second-guess. All of us.

Instead, we’ve got to be the kind of people who offer peace. Let us be the kind of people who smile at a stranger. Let us speak of hope and love.

Let us be the kind of people who remember there is more that binds us together than what keeps us apart.

LET US HOLD THE DOOR OPEN FOR THE PERSON BEHIND US – literally and figuratively.

Now is the time to let go of the things that do not serve us. Hate doesn’t serve. Fear doesn’t serve. Judgment doesn’t serve. Looting and rioting sure as hell doesn’t serve.

Let us live the values of equality and respect, and let compassion be the foundation for our words and our actions.

To all of you around the world, I ask you to please send a little love to our community in St. Louis, as we begin the slow and painful work of trying to heal some very deep wounds. And let some of that love spill over into your own communities.

I beg you to hold open the door – and hold open your hearts.

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