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Let us really matter to one another

I have to wonder if being sheltered for the last several months has somehow turned many of us into people we don’t even recognize anymore.

I say this because we are fighting with our fellow man, destroying property we don’t own and killing one another without even thinking.

The list could go on.

Have you ever heard this: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”?

Which are you?

The Bible teaches us in the book of James many lessons on controlling our anger and tongues, having patience and on prayer.

In James 1:19 it tells us to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to become angry.”

Over the last few months, I’ve had time to reflect over my life and try to figure out how we have arrived at such a point as we find ourselves at today.

I have never thought myself to be better than any other person. I’ve had the privilege to include white people, black people and mixed-race people to be my friends.

In high school, one of my best friends was black; however, I never saw her as such. We got along great and did many things together.

Many years later, when I got a job at LensCrafters, I made friends with another black girl when we roomed together for training. We still remain friends today.

When I was promoted to a manager of the store, I was told not to be so friendly with my fellow employees because they wouldn’t respect me.

I treated everyone equal, kept my friendships and had no problems with disrespect.

My motto then and still today is to “treat people the way I want to be treated;” simple but quite effective.

Fast forward years later and I was hired to work for a black man.

I started as a secretary then became his administrative assistant. He was very nice, and I enjoyed working for him.

He was a franchisee owner for the Burger King Corp. We became close friends — he even golfed with my husband.

We had him and his wife to our home, and we visited at theirs.

They are both gone now, but I’m still friends with his children. His son owns our local BW3 restaurant.

I feel blessed to have been a part of this family’s life.

I also have mixed-race individuals in my family.

I have never been a racist. I looked up the definition of this word: “Racism is the belief in innate superiority of a particular race, antagonism towards members of a different race based on this belief.”

I don’t even see the color of someone’s skin when I meet them. I go for the heart — and I hope that’s what they see in me.

I do believe that negative behaviors and prejudices are learned and started in the home, as well as good behaviors are. We certainly learn by example. However, I also believe that as we grow up and mature, we can change some of these negative things from our early life.

It’s been heartbreaking to witness on TV the fallout from the recent protests and destruction of lives and property.

So, I decided to check out the Black Lives Matter, or BLM, definition. It is an organized movement dedicated to non-violent civil disobedience in protest to alleged incidents of police brutality. An organization simply known as “Black Lives Matter” exists as a decentralized network with over 30 chapters worldwide, while a larger BLM movement exists consisting of various separate like-minded organizations.

Then I thought I would check out some information on police brutality, (from lawenforcewmenttoday.com).

According to 2019 data, there are 328,240,469 people here in the United States. There are 670,279 full-time police officers here in the U.S. out of a total of 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers (data from National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund).

There are approximately 2.1 police officers per thousand people. That means 55,800,880 contacts, which, at the time of the last report led to 26,000 excessive force complaints against officers. Only 8% of those complaints were sustained. That’s 2,080 out of 53,380,000 contacts. The 1920s was the deadliest decade in law enforcement history, when a total of 2,480 officers died, or an average of almost 248 each year.

The deadliest year in law enforcement history was 1930, when 310 officers were killed. That figure dropped dramatically in the 1990s, to an average of 162 per year. The deadliest day in law enforcement history was September 11, 2001, when 72 officers were killed while responding to the terrorist attacks on America.

The way I look at things, yes, we have all made mistakes. Hopefully we learn from the mistakes and do better.

We need to be careful of the words and actions we use. Words can soothe, comfort or heal. They can also hurt, anger and disappoint.

The other day I saw a church reader board in St. Clairsville that read: “We all smile in the same language.”

I love that message, and miss all of our smiles (due to the masks)! because ALL LIVES MATTER.

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