Last Friday, we went to a peaceful demonstration for Black Lives Matter in Red Deer. We practised good social distancing. We wore masks. It was important to be there. It was important to show solidarity with those who were seeking justice in society.
As part of the demonstration, we were asked to kneel on one knee for two minutes of silence in memory of George Floyd, the man murdered in Minneapolis. It was not easy. I know I have a bit of arthritis. I know I am now 56 and not 26. I know I carry a few extra pounds. But after 120 seconds, I was sore. My knee that was on the ground was telling me that it was not happy. I wondered if I would be able to get up without a crane coming to pick me up. I did get up and no mechanical equipment was required.
Much was made of Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49er's quarterback who a few years ago decided to take a knee when the National Anthem was played. He did so because he was seeking justice for African Americans. He immediately received negative press, he was released from his contract, and even though he is very skilled, no NFL team will hire him. His taking a knee was a non violent way of protesting the oppression that many feel in his country.
We all know about Derek Chauvin's knee that started off this protest. His act stoked the fires of racial tension once more. Whether it was a momentary lapse of judgement, an act of deliberate abuse of power, an act that demonstrated systemic racism , or what have you, history will only tell. But Mr. Chauvin's knee was an action heard around the world and not just on that Minnesota street.
Our actions speak louder than words. Acts of violence grow. Acts of kindness can grow. We can choose to smile at others and not scowl. We can choose to disagree respectfully and in dialogue or with rocks, fireworks, tear gas and guns. We can choose to listen to others or we can yell and scream at those who are different from us. I choose to be kind, to listen to the cries of my brothers and sisters, to respect the other, to be open to new understandings and new ways of being. May others make the same choice. Blessings.