Deserving of a Chance

This is a picture of me holding our friends' youngest daughter.  It was taken last Wednesday evening, three days before the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Many wise columnists have written about Charlottesville this past week, so I won't attempt to frame the broad social, cultural, or political picture in these brief words.  Instead, I simply want to share a small picture -- this literal picture that captures a moment when a child trusted me and nestled into my arms for a few minutes.

She happens to be black, just like I happen to be white.  Neither of us had any choosing in this matter.

This child deserves to grow up safely and equally.  Fathers and mothers who are raising young black boys and girls deserve to not fear for their children's safety, security, and futures, as I only can imagine that they do every day.

Our country appears to be moving backwards.  It's almost paralyzing.  As I attempted to explain the recent events to my daughters, my youngest asked the question so many of us are thinking, "Why?  Why would they do that?"

Because man's heart is capable of hatred.  Because racism and oppression are trenchant.  Because our world is fallen.  Because evil and sin exist.  Because, somehow, they were taught it.

As I watch my children process, I imagine them thinking of the people we know and love who are black.  Their favorite neighbor, Mr. Joe, who just invited them over for peach cobbler and always buys a treat from them when they set up their lemonade stand.  Their friends in school and church.  The college students who come to our house each week to share a meal.

They can't fathom how others could hate simply based on skin color.  And I think it's because they've been exposed, all of their young lives, to some degree of diversity, and that they've seen respect and friendship and love modeled.

My heart has been heavy.  Last Saturday's events in Charlottesville aren't new, sadly.  They reveal what's under the surface.  And it reminds me that in my home, in my neighborhood, in my community, in my classrooms, and in my church, now more than ever, we need to demonstrate a firm commitment to loving our neighbors as ourselves, whether they be black, or white, or any range in between.

That young girl in the picture?  She deserves a chance at the best possible life. 

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