By Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, CEO
There are not many words left to share at this moment. Just a determination to rise from this place of grief and heartbreak (again) to building the world we need and desire for our children, parents, and grandparents.
The mass shootings over the weekend were a terrifying reminder of the hate running through the veins of our nation. These acts were fueled by fear, ignorance, and racism. It is painful and it is deadly. My heart hurts for the families who are left behind and forced to find their way through shattered lives and dreams.
I know that neighborhood in Buffalo well. The Tops Supermarket had been a place of victory for the residents who had fought to bring a full-service supermarket back in 2003 to what had been a food desert for decades. It was devastating to see families kneeling in front of that parking lot praying over the bodies of grandmothers, mothers, sisters, brothers, and fathers. The words of the Senior Pastor Darius Pridgen of True Bethel Baptist Church, a church home of the families and victims, brought some semblance of comfort when he reminded me of how closely knit together this community is—neighbors looking after one another, loving each other, and holding each other. A beautiful community of people who want the best for their kids and their grandkids. The irony of it all was that four dear friends were in Buffalo just last week meeting with the mayor to open a refugee center to welcome immigrants into a community one hour south of where the shootings happened.
It is hard to process all of it. But…we must find our footing again and keep pressing forward. To be the people of change that this world needs—and do the work to build it. To get there, I lean into scripture remembering that God draws near the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). And…I stand on the words of Dr. Martin Luther King who believed “that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word…”
As a member of the LCF Family, I am grateful you are committed to triumph over evil, to choose love over fear, to elevate the voices of our communities, and to fight for justice and equity. The work is not for the faint of heart…but it is for the ones who understand the irrevocable power of redeeming love.
Grateful YOU are one of them. Please take good care of your heart and mind—and let’s continue the work of love and justice.