Enough already about foolish arguments and endless speculations—that's too... .My desire is to shift the focus of my lens outward and directly into the world—a world that is quickly changing around us. People are running in mass states of confusion, frustration, and pandemonium not knowing how to bring a calm and order to it all. To all our shame, black men and women are being slaughtered in the street, as if for sport, and the year is 2016. Conversely, here I sit in a beauty salon, so far removed from the reality of brutality as my daughter is being pampered with a relaxing mani-pedi. It's a lovely, 80 degree day, the sky's a jordy blue, and ever since we stepped into the place it's been all smiles. A warm, Vietnamese couple simultaneously work on my baby's adolescent hands and feet while I wonder where all the time went. She is no longer small, I realize, as I admire her long, shapely, mahogany legs that will soon be poised behind the wheel of a car, independent of me. This thought suddenly grips my heart with fear as I digress from the salon and find myself riding shotgun with Sandra Bland, opening the door with Yvette Smith, outside with Tamir Rice, in the back of a van with Freddie Gray and in the middle of the road with Terence Crutcher. The list goes on and on as I observe the confrontation between my sisters, my brothers and the thugs, who've been perpetrating as officers of the law. These thugs, enticed and lured into a false sense of superiority, make a mockery of the law. They do not see that they have become the perpetrators, dissolving into the very thing that they hate: the criminal mind. As the tension rises, I drift again, not far, to a black woman in handcuffs. She has legs like my daughter. She is the same age as my daughter. She has black skin like my daughter.
The wide shot in my mind reveals an aqua blue pool where a white palm is smashing a black face to the ground, shattering my lens. Through the broken pieces of glass, I see the girl in a bikini who has now made headline news. She's being assaulted by an officer of the law—a man who took an oath to "protect and serve." I feel a lump rising in my throat, and I can barely breath or see through the tears. A sigh of relief comes as I find myself back in the present, back in my comfy seat at the salon and gazing at my daughter's cinnamon skin. However, as much as I want to disconnect, I wonder how do I protect her? These anxious thoughts begin binding me up like vines, pinning me to the trunk of a large oak. My own mind has quickly made me prey, and I have allowed it. I knew better than to let it wander without spiritual supervision or without apprehending these renegade thoughts. For many months now, the media has been bombarding us with images and sounds of black men and women being murdered in the streets. Those images linger and circle around us like wolves, waiting to seize our imagination and destroy us between the vines.This mother-daughter outing, initially so beautiful, has been suddenly sabotaged by fear. However, I refuse to make it feel at home within me, and I refuse to return evil for evil, adopting an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth mentality. Instead, I start thumbing through my daughter's summer reading material and try to guide my mind back towards peace. Then, lo and behold, out of that jordy blue, I see these words: "Fondly do we hope-fervently do we pray- that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away...With malice toward none; with charity for all." These words lifted off the page and formed a sharp blade, which began cutting through the vines that had me bound only moments before. Suddenly, I was set free and the fear was no longer present. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly we forget...NOTHING is stronger than LOVE...NOTHING; loving words, loving thoughts, loving actions. With that moment of truth, I closed my daughter's book and resolved to fight this war with the wisdom and the love of God. Nothing else is strong enough to keep the wolves away. Nothing else is sharp enough to cut through the vines. Therefore, "fondly do [I] hope, fervently do [I] pray-that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away."