Michael Thompson, Bowie, MD, an affiliate of the Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise, USA offers his personal reflections.
At this point, we all know the story of George Floyd. We also know of the aftermath. What we may not know how all this impacted a dedicated Affiliate of the Daughters of Charity. Due to the length of his highly personal reflection here we can only offer excerpts in the hope that you might read the essay in its entirely.
… “What has emerged is a debate over whether black lives really matter and a debate over police brutality and the need to reform the way we do policing in the United States. As an African American man living in America, racism is something that is difficult to make plain to others unless they have experienced it.”
He describes similar incidents experienced by his own parents. That sets the stage for his further reflections on today.
… “I was gratified by the phone calls, cards, emails, and text messages from many white persons who sent words of encouragement after the George Floyd incident. Several I spoke with wanted me to honestly evaluate their past interactions with me to understand if I had ever perceived any racial bias in them. They were sincere in asking about language and communication and certain terms that an African-American might find sensitive. I believe in this season of hypersensitivity, it is good to have a dialogue on race, racism, classism and sexism. God is honored when we can humbly admit our prejudices and work to get along with one another. Dealing with these issues that are part of the very fabric of America is no easy task. It is hard work.”
… “I am equally disturbed by black-on-black crime, something that seems to get scant attention as a problem during the current season we find ourselves in. …there are many elements in the Black Lives Matter, Inc. platform I find difficult to embrace so I do not support the Black Lives Matter organization”. …
“Another observation… if black lives really matter, then what about the rights of the unborn? Abortion impacts African Americans at a higher rate than any other population group… Abortion of African American babies is another example of black-on-black crime, the effects of which are hard to fathom on the black community.”
“Again, the current dialogue of prejudice and racism and police brutality is long overdue and necessary; however, it is important that the conversation include confession of how we as African Americans can sometimes contribute to our own problems by being our own worst enemy.”
He describes a violent gunfight between rival gangs and how he and”violence interrupters” were able to move forward to a truce.
“Violence Interrupters are DC’s version of New York City’s Guardian Angels. Many of them are former prisoners, now reformed, who cruise the streets of the toughest neighborhoods to identify and intervene in gang-related conflicts before they intensify. If a shooting occurs, they seek out the victim’s friends and relatives and try to prevent a retaliatory shooting.”
He describes how I was contacted by the local police commander for the 5th District who asked if I would commandeer an effort to improve police and community relations.
“The expected outcome of this initiative is to:
- Expose officers to the lives and stories of the community members.
- Expose community members to the lives and stories of the police who patrol their neighborhood.
- Recognize those who are leaders in the community.
- Encourage officers to recognize that in addition to working in the community, they must be a part of it.
- Emphasize the importance of useful intelligence by the community to the police in order to deter crime.
We must realize that not all police are bad. There are also good “cops.” All people are not bad. There are also good people in this world. The more we seek to understand each other the better this world will be.
I want to especially thank the Daughters of Charity and the many Affiliates who sent cards and letters of condolences in the passing of my mother who died of COVID-19 on April 25th. May God continue to bless you all.”
And thank you for sharing your personal reflections!
Link for the full document A Reflection on Recent Events in Our Country