Friday, January 16, 2015

Mutual Lament

A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of joining a few ladies of multiple races and backgrounds for a very respectful but eye-opening discussion on race and the racial problems in the United States. It ended up being one of the best discussions I've ever been a part of. 

I heard a lot of things about African American culture and history that I, as a white, middle-class American girl, have never heard or experienced. The ladies shared stories about racial discrimination that were heart-breaking for me to hear. I know racial discrimination exists; I'd have to be living under a rock not to. But to hear stories from people I know, stories that happened in my hometown, was very eye-opening for me. 

Finally, the big question was asked: how can things change? And more importantly, how can we change things?

The leader of our discussion, a brilliant African American woman with years of education on African American history and culture, and a great love for God, said this:

Mutual lament. 

I love those words--mutual lament. The moment I heard them, I knew I had to draw it. 

Mutual Lament pastel drawing
Mutual Lament

And this was what I pictured; this image of deep loss and pain, with different ages, races, and backgrounds coming together. Most importantly, an old woman, a police officer, a child, a young woman. So many different stories could be present. A multitude of stories. Four people, with a crowd behind them, all standing in mutual lament before this grave.

My friends, protesting is not the way to end this. Looking down upon the protesters is not the way to end this. Living under a rock is not the way to end this. Condemning those who know less than you is not the way to end this. Composing angry blog posts, Facebook posts, or tweets is not the way to end this. Guilt is not the way to end this. Killing people is not the way to end this. 

Empathy is the way to end this. Love is the way to end this.

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