More Empathy, Please.

I woke up at 3:45 this morning…typical for a person who is almost 38 weeks pregnant. I had caught wind of the hashtag #FalconHeights as I drifted off to sleep the night before. Not again, not in our backyard, I thought, already reeling from the news of Alton Sterling. The footage flickering through my phone during these early hours of the morning was a real nightmare: a girlfriend suddenly witnessing the last moments of her boyfriend’s life, fatally shot by a police officer after a routine traffic stop, followed by the words of her four year old daughter, “It’s okay mommy. It’s okay, I’m right here with you.”

I’ve been wide awake since, trying to find a way to wrap my head around the global climate in 2016. Had you asked me ten years ago what the world would be like when I brought my first child into the world, I would have never, ever guessed it would have resembled the 1960s, let alone the early 1990s. The fractures defining our differences have widened into deep canyons and I fear they will become so large and deep we won’t be able to repair them.

Sadly, nothing is black and white and that’s what makes these events so difficult and painful to accept as reality. What we can do when faced with questions without answers is to combat our own fear and judgement with the practice empathy. Empathy is often confused with sympathy and I thought it would be a good time to share a snippet of Brene Brown’s talk on subject with you this morning. It’s OK to not know what to say and it’s normal to feel guilty for being born into circumstances that separate you from the experiences of our brothers and sisters. The worst thing we can do in this case is to look for a silver lining because there just isn’t one to be found. Not here, not today.

What is clear is the events that have transpired between minority communities and law enforcement for decades is unacceptable. I don’t know what else to say. I’m grieving what happened just a few miles from our house. I have empathy for my friends as they drive to work this morning, and I have empathy for the officers navigating this current social climate. I hope the child Joe and I will raise together can help shape a future that heals the divides I never thought our generation would be living through.

That’s all from me today.