Thursday, June 25, 2015

Changes and hope

I am thinking about the outpouring of love that has occurred since the shooting of nine people at Emanuel AME church during their Bible study last week.  In a show of unity,  over 15,000 people joined hands to span the long bridge that reaches across the Cooper River to Charleston.  I was there, among a throng of people who came together to support each other and show that the actions of a deranged killer would not tear the community apart.

The 7 year old, who drew the picture above, depicts what I felt--light and love. Don't misunderstand though. There are difficult days ahead for this community and this state.  The Confederate flag which has been flown on the State House grounds and on the dome of the state capitol will come down, as it is coming down in the South and no longer being offered by retail giants.  It is time, past time, for the Civil War and all it stood for to be in the past.

Make no mistake that there is much resentment about this, for there are those who cling to it as a symbol of segregation and hate.  And thus, the voices and whispers of racism and bigotry will continue. I didn't grow up with those voices. In fact, I only began to hear them after we moved to South Carolina. And the voices have been prevalent in recent years, more than ever.  I remain hopeful though that other voices will drown out the ones who huddle in grand homes or walk the aisles of state government convinced of their superiority over anyone who is not white.  I harbor this hope that what we have been seeing is a sort of last gasp of the real hate - that this moment we are in represents the violent, cathartic end of the dark forces of division in the deep South. The outpouring of love needs to continue every day to keep those voices from drowning out the good.

These words resonate with me now more than ever:
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’~Bob Dylan

The times indeed are changing.  And for me change can't come soon enough. I am clinging to a glimmer of hope that the changes happening will be without further bloodshed.


  1. A perfect and incredibly moving post. Thank you, Syd. Just beautiful. I am glad you were there. That makes my heart happy.

  2. Taking away the flag will not change hearts but it does take something out of the face of all who feel nothing but contempt for what it stands and how it is used.

    So many long for the "good old days". I especially hear it from my age group and older. What were the good old days? Days of discrimination, days of subservient women, days of permission to degrade other human beings.

    Those days have not gone away. As Americans we seem to always find a class of people to look down upon. Hispanics that everyone see as "illegals". (how is a person illegal, I always of a act being illegal not a person.) People that actively practice the Islamic faith is another whole group to persecute for nothing than the acts of a few. Statistic show I am much more likely to be killed by a Christian American than anyone else but why let facts get in the way of prejudices.

    Small steps, education and personal experiences, is how we change our current national dialogue. This is a small step that I applaud.

  3. So moved by the church members' responses and glad you were there, Syd, to join in a movement for change and an end to racist ideologies.

    If only the US (and South Africa) could institute effective gun control.

  4. Thank you for letting us know what is going on in Charleston after the tragic killings. It's good to know that over 15,000 people came together to support each other and to show unity. It's shocking to me that the confederate flag has been allowed to hang over the statehouse for so long, given what it symbolizes. It's way past time for it to be banned. When I look across the nation as a whole and then my own city of Cleveland in particular, I see that we have a long way to go. Racism (cutting both ways), violence and no real gun ownership safeguards threaten your city, my city and cities throughout the country.

  5. In Tennessee ( where I live) the mask that covers 'the tradition of hate and segregation' is that the flag is a part of history that loved ones fought for. I grew up in KY and if I remember my KY and TN history, I remember that those states were border states and brother fought against brother; neighbor against neighbor. And, if all of that were true, why wouldn't the folks up north be displaying their union flag? I don't think I've ever seen it outside of movies about the Civil War. For me at least, hate is cowardly. It must hide behind flimsy excuses. The AME church members, in their forgiveness are the true heroes.

  6. The purity and love that shines through in the two drawings that you posted are our best hope ... but it takes so long to come to fruition.

  7. I LOVE the little drawing of the angels above the church. If only sweet little children ran the world!


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.