My husband and I live in a suburb of St. Louis, a city that has been making national headlines ever since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. If you aren't familiar with the media's spin on the case, or the decision yesterday evening reached by the grand jury, you're either purposely avoiding the subject or have been living in isolation for months. The entire St. Louis Metropolitan area has been on pins and needles awaiting yesterday's verdict. Today, the day after the verdict, just about every school is closed, businesses that serve people in need are shut down for the remainder of the eek, and those of us who have warm safe homes have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving week.
As I sit in my arm sunny office, my mind travels to the innocent lives who have been impacted by senseless acts of violence, distraction and mayhem. Part of me wants to sit down with the rioters, arsonists, and looters and fid out just what influenced their decision to take the destructive and sometimes inhumane actions they chose. How is distorting homes and businesses helping anything? How is it bringing justice? How is it changing anything for the better? I can't fathom any action of another human being that would justify intentionally setting fire to businesses and private homes anywhere, much less in areas far outside Ferguson.
Leading up to the verdict, I told my husband that no matter what the decision of the grand jury, things aren't going to be pretty. We developed a safety plan for me as I utilize public transportation as my primary means of travel. The fact that we needed to do such a ting at all is sad. Am I thankful we were both home and safe when the verdict came down, absolutely.
All of the violence, the hate, the distraction of property and lives makes me sad. As a yogi, a woman, a wife, a daughter, a resident of St. Louis, and above all as a human being, I am filled with two emotions today - sadness and shame. I am sad for the innocent victims; for the families whose lives have been changed through no fault of their own. Above all, I am ashamed. Ashamed of the way people have chosen to behave. Ashamed that people have chosen to turn to violence. Ashamed that our city harbors such a deep rooted socioeconomic divide, and ashamed that few are willing to accept the things they can not change and work productively and peacefully to change the things they can.
No one deserves this kind of action.
Does the grand jury's decision effect my daily life? Not at first glance. Yet what right do I have to go on "business as usual"? Doing that would be true injustice. So I choose. I choose to promote peace, tolerance, cooperation, acceptance and above all interpersonal respect. Because, as a wise man once said, if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.