Thus says the Lord:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more. Jeremiah 31:15 (NRSV)
Lesley McSpadden is without her son. That a grand jury refused to hand down an indictment against the police offer who fired 12 shots at her son, hitting him 6 times (including his head), that just adds some salt to the wound, but it doesn’t change that Lesley McSpadden has been, since August 9, a grieving mother. Nothing will change that. Nothing will change that.
And that’s really the problem. Nothing has changed. It’s not about indictments, really. Not grand jury indictments, anyway. It’s about our refusal to indict our whole society. It’s not about justice for Michael Brown after the fact. It’s about justice. Period. It’s about justice. Black lives matter, and we are still waiting for justice for Emmett Till.
Another August, and another black teenager. Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 by white men. Two men were tried and acquitted. To be sure, the murder haunted them in ways they probably didn’t foresee on that August night. But they lived on and had a chance to repent. Emmett Till is still dead. And Michael Brown is still dead. And so many other young black men are dead. And mothers grieve.
I know a little bit about grieving mothers. I don’t know what it’s like to have someone murder my son, only to lose a son suddenly and tragically. And that’s bad enough. How many more mothers must suffer this anguish?
Rachel is weeping for her children. Rachel is weeping for all of her children – not just the white children. Black lives matter. Black sons of mothers matter. Black mothers matter.
Don’t shoot! For the love of God don’t shoot! For the love of all that is holy, don’t shoot!
If the police are really to protect and serve, then they must protect and serve — everyone. We do not protect and serve by taking aim. God does not protect us by aiming a weapon at our heads.
We will not have justice until we stop shooting first. We will not have justice until we put an end to the for-profit prison system. We will not have justice until we value every life. EVERY life. We will not have justice until black men can walk down the street without having to justify why they are walking down the street. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. And in case I haven’t made this point enough, black lives matter.
I pray for the mothers. O God, how long? How long until mothers no longer weep over the broken bodies of unarmed young black men and boys gunned down by police? Lord, hold your son Michael gently in your arms. And your son Emmet. Embrace their mothers gently, and let your tears mingle with theirs. And Lord, stay the hands of those who reach for weapons. Teach us to live in your wholeness. Help us to repair the world.
That’s all I’ve got. That’s my mite.