I know that there are those who follow this blog regularly who live outside of the United States. My blog analytics point to the fact that there are people from the following countries who visit Gotta Sing Gotta Pray. These are ranked in order of the number of blog visits, highest to lowest:
Events here in the United States over the past several weeks, including the massacres of members of the LGBTQ community in Orlando, the shooting of black men by white police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and yesterday's killing of five police officers in Dallas, Texas must engender all kinds of outrage, concern, and questions in the hearts and minds of those living outside of the United States and "looking in."
I just want to say that as a citizen of the United States, I share those same feelings of outrage and deep sadness. I live in a city, Chicago, which, as reported in the Chicago Tribune this morning, has seen 2000 shootings since January 1 of this year. I, for one, feel helpless.
On Friday, November 27 of 2015, my outrage led me to the streets of Chicago, in a cold rain, to peacefully protest over the sixteen shots fired into the body of Laquan Mcdonald by a police officer. I walked peacefully with thousands of others, including priests, ministers, rabbis, and citizens of this city from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. I just knew, on the day after American Thanksgiving, that I had to do something. The Chicago police were there as well. There were no confrontations with those officers. They were there to protect us and to protect our freedom, guaranteed by our constitution, of free speech.
Yesterday, in Dallas, people just like me were peacefully protesting the recent police shootings here in the United States. And the police were there as well, doing exactly what our Chicago officers did on November 27. They were protecting the citizens of Dallas.
My heart aches for the families of those police officers that were killed; my heart aches for the families of the two black men killed recently by police officers; my heart aches for the families of those young people gunned down in Orlando. And my hearts aches for the people in Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Syria, and too many other places to count, who have been killed in acts of terror. And my heart reaches out to the vast majority of police officers who risk their lives every day to protect me and countless others.
For those who follow this blog in and outside of the United States, please, please, let us join together to do whatever we can in prayer and in peaceful protest, to end this violence.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.