We've all heard the phrase that says we should never judge another person unless we have "walked a mile in their shoes." With all of the recent events in our country, from Alton Sterling to the Dallas Police Shooting, I have seen a lot of judgement and more importantly, a lot of hate, fill my news feed. I have seen those who just want to be right, who want to justify and condemn and those who just want the chance to have the infamous "Facebook debate." My question for you: is all of this really important?
Waking up today in a bed that is empty, because your husband was a Dallas Police Officer. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was protecting those who chose to protest. He was putting his own life in danger for the rights and safety of so many other Americans, and now he is gone. Imagine telling your little girl that daddy isn't coming home tonight, or any other night; and on top of that not being able to give her a real reason why. That's the thing about children, they weren't born with hate in their hearts. They can't understand why something like this would happen, why someone would choose to do this to so many people, and so many families. Imagine the pain, the confusion and the sting you feel knowing your best friend, provider and protector was taken from you for no other reason than pure hatred and terrorism. Imagine having to get through every single day knowing this didn't have to happen. Imagine having to be that strong.
Waking up today as a police officer in the United States. Imagine checking your phone in the morning to see the thousands of Americans speaking out and sending death threats to men and women in uniform just like you. Imagine leaving your family every morning knowing that you may not come home simply because you are a police officer. Imagine being this police officer; the one who has wanted this position their entire life for the sole reason to protect and serve every American, even the ones who speak hate against them. Imagine being criticized, threatened and dehumanized because of the one percent who do not wear their badge with honor. Imagine being a cop today, knowing what state this country is in, and still going in to work every single day.
Being the mother or father of a person who was brutally murdered at the hands of police. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to the phone call that your baby was gone. Imagine having to be afraid every time you walk out the door. Imagine being a moving target just because of the color of your skin. Imagine justice never coming for you, because the ones meant to protect you have taken your child away and for some reason it's justified. Imagine the helplessness you feel when no one seems to listen, and no one seems to understand. Imagine having to feel that way.
I understand that some of you will and have said "Don't break the law, don't get murdered." I don't need to hear your opinion on how you should or should not avoid being killed by a police officer. I just know that regardless of a person's past, they are still a person. With their life comes family and friends and a story. I don't think anyone deserve to die that way.
With this, killing police officers at random, especially targeting police officers for the color of their skin as well, is doing exactly what you are fighting to stop. You cannot fight hate with hate. You cannot say that Black Lives Matter and then say that Police Lives don't. Many do not see it this way, but many do. The majority of police officers are wonderful and sacrificial people. They do not get paid very much at all, and yet they risk their lives every single day for Americans like you. They risk their lives to make this country a better place, because that is the purpose that's been put in their hearts. They don't deserve brutality, they deserve it the least of us all.
There are bad cops, yes. It's awful and it's not okay by any means. I'm just trying to put myself in the shoes of these men and women. Of the brave police officers that serve us everyday. Of the men and women who have lost their children, and are just trying to understand. Have an opinion, protest and express your freedom of speech. That's what this country was founded on. But please, do it from a place of love. Do it because you want what's right.
I cannot pretend to know what it feels like to be an African American in this country. We all have struggles that you will not understand unless you've been there. I cannot pretend to understand the fear and oppression that many feel. I do know though, that any race can be racist. I know hating someone for the color of their skin, no matter what the color, needs to stop. I know that we can never move forward as a nation if we continue to divide ourselves. I also cannot pretend to know what it feels like to be a police officer in a country that is becoming scarier by the day. I do not know how it feels to leave my family and sacrifice my entire life for strangers. I will never know how that feels. I can never express my gratitude for those who serve and protect. The cops the media so often shows us are the one percent; all cops are not this way. Most cops do this because of the love for people and the love for their country, please stop blaming them for the one percent. We salute you for your service, and thank you immensely for putting your lives on the line for us.
Our officers should not have to fear for their lives. They serve us with honor. They serve us to make a difference. However, our American people, of any color, should not have to fear for their lives either. We have to stop looking at the world in such a divided way. We have to fight for each other, and not against. We have to try to understand what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes. We are going backwards as a country; we have to come together and learn to stand as one for what really matters. Murder is not the answer. Violence is not the answer. Love is the only glue that will put us back together; we are not black or white; we are Americans, and we matter.