My nephew RJ is 7. He loves to draw, dance, and shoot hoops. He is quick both to laugh and to snuggle. He got Star Wars stuff, art supplies, and a toy Nerf gun for Christmas. He's my brother's baby boy. His heart. Our heart. If anything were to happen to this child — our boy — we'd be outraged. Devastated. We would not rest until justice was served.
Tamir was his mommy's boy. Samaria's heart. Shot dead, toy gun in hand. I imagine her sorrow, this second holiday without him. Is there some present she had hidden in his room, yet unwrapped? Did he like to shoot hoops? Could he bust a dance move? Was he artistic? How empty are her arms for her boy, how silent is the space where his laughter once was.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor McGinty said of the shooting, "It was not, by the law that binds us, a crime."
Samaria's boy is dead. That is criminal and I am outraged. What is also criminal is how little Black Lives matter. You can shoot a Black body to death and not even go to trial.
I stand with Samaria. I weep for Tamir. He was our boy, a child of our village. A child of these United States, no matter his race or ours. We should all be devastated and mad as hell. Someone must be held accountable. I echo his mom's demands that the Department of Justice investigate, and that the two officers be fired. Join with me to pray for Samaria by protesting peacefully, persistently, and passionately until justice is served.
And if protesting is not your thing, do something else.
- Sign this open letter to the Attorney General Lynch, started by a group of faith leaders called Showing Up For Racial Justice. Most of these leaders, by the way, are White!
- Start a conversation about race in your faith community. Start by reading Beloved by Toni Morrison. It is an excellent piece of literature that will put a context on the racial dynamics in our nation. Then read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, a sharp analysis of mass incarceration and its roots in our racist culture. Next, read United By Faith (Curtiss DeYoung et al), which makes a strong case for multiracial congregations.
- Use your networks to share information with friends who might not otherwise understand that when #BlackLivesMatter, all lives matter.