Here in Charlotte, I am only one person. What can I do? Things seem so out of control … Start with a transforming initiative, an unexpected act of kindness. Some are called to protest and to speak publically and call for change and put pressure on authorities and reconcile angry sides. But others of us can and must do our part, too. But how? Here are a few possibilities.
- Eat out with a purpose. Look for someone in the restaurant where you are eating who is a different ethnicity or from a different background. Ask: “Would you mind if I bought your lunch/dinner? Things are really difficult in our city right now and I would like us to bring some healing. My name is David and I would like for your meal to be on me.”
- At your church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship, make an extra effort to speak openly and positively about additional ways we can work for transforming initiatives – random acts of kindness that might allow peace to break out in surprising places.
- Do not allow excuses or negatives among your friends and family members. Too often we hear: “These are just a bunch of thugs.” No, the vast majority here in Charlotte remains peaceful. Yet the protests stem from truly legitimate concerns; real problems must be dealt with; innocent people are being injured and killed; the African-American community is hurting and and concerned and so should we all. Therefore, turn any blaming or negative words into: “Well, how would you feel if this happened to you or your family? What would your response be?” Do not allow the simplistic blame game to be the label for legitimate pain and anger.
- Do not do nothing. Wherever you are, whatever your city or town, do something in your place that will offer the beginning of healing.
Charlotte is a tense place right now. Random acts of kindness, simple efforts at transforming initiatives from as many of us as possible can make far more of a difference than we might imagine.
I want to be clear. These offerings will not take away the very real concerns we must ultimately wrestle with as we and key leaders seek creative, honest, collaborative and just solutions. But in the meantime, you and I can offer peaceful options, injecting a breath of fresh air and giving room for hope to bloom again. And if you choose the meal option, I predict your own food will take on a whole new flavor … Good luck and may this new redemptive adventure meet with transformative success!