By Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew
It’s been a difficult week. In addition to just having a packed schedule, it was heightened by the release of the video of Tyre Nichols’ murder. Tyre died on January 10 succumbing to the severe beating during a traffic stop by five Black officers in Memphis, Tennessee. I couldn’t watch the entire video. The emotions I’ve experienced as a mother and a Black woman once again triggered me. I was taken back to the George Floyd and his cry for his mother. Tyre, too, cried for his mother as he was being kicked to death.
I am the mother of a young adult that I want to protect and keep safe. It is terrifying that every time she’s out, I’m worried about her. Not just in dealing with police but even the advances of young men who feel rejected. Jamea Jonae Harris was a 23-year-old mother in Alabama that was shot because of reportedly refusing the advances. A recent Huffington Post article states, “According to her mother in a Facebook post, one of the men accused in the shooting “took my baby’s life because she wouldn’t talk to him.” Because this former college athlete didn’t get what he wanted, she lost her life.
Feeling safe is a distant memory for most. We are not safe in our cars at traffic stops. We are not safe when we choose to exert our agency and say no. We are not safe in grocery stores, parks, schools, universities, churches, and malls. We are not safe in our homes. Safety is a basic need and without it, we are witnessing the manifestation of anger, anxiety, and hopelessness when people do not feel safe. We are witnessing massive violence in a society that has little to no regard for human life.
Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.ADVERTISEMENT
The need for safety was acknowledged as a basic human need by Abraham Maslow in his ‘Hierarchy of Needs’. Safety needs represent the second tier in Maslow’s hierarchy. Examples of safety and security needs include shelter, security, employment, health, stability, and law & order. What happens when many of these are threatened daily?
It’s in the moments that I can become, like many, disillusioned. Despite how much unrest exists in the world, we must know that God sees it all. God does not condone this behavior.
God has not left or forsaken us. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalms 46:1) These are human decisions rooted in hate, ego and pride. Psalms 12:5 reminds us that “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD. “I will protect them from those who malign them.”
Scripture is filled with examples of God’s demand for justice of those who are oppressed:
- “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, and please the widow’s cause,” (Isaiah 1:17).
- “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
- “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others,” (Luke 11:42).
Do not become immobilized by your pain or fear. In doing so, we allow evil to have more control and run rampant. Prayer is important but there is more required. Our faith should prompt us to stand up, speak out and show up. Our children depend upon us, and we owe it to them to demand justice, to protect them and keep them safe.
“Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” (James 2:18)
It’s time to stop ignoring the cries of our children and playing church. The church can no longer remain a bystander. It’s time to be the church—to be the hands and feet of God for those who are mistreated, abused, and murdered.
Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy and the founder of the R2 Foundation (r2fdn.org) as well as the author of four books. She is the host of the Tapestry podcast.