Welcome to 28 Days– a soulcare series designed to help us live intentionally in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Tragedy. Please join us as we explore 28 ways to engage in this sobering reality with honesty and hope. For Facebook covers and more information click here. Thank you for being here today.
“I did then what I knew how to do. Know that I know better, I do better.” -Maya Angelou
Two Thousand Three Hundred and Twenty: Know Better
By the end of the day on December 14th, I was already noticing something, and it left an convicting weight in my body.
I was ready to rage and wail. To write and protest. To donate. To demand change now.
Now that white children were dying.
I am a terrible activist. I work in fits and starts. I get distracted by every cause. Frozen by the level of need in the world. I may have studied social ethics in college. I may have started my working life at a non-profit. I may preach from time to time about serving the poor. But in reality my involvement is fleeting and sporadic. It is not the main part of my work, or the main cry of my heart. (I wish it was.)
Still, I know enough about race and poverty to be convicted of my own inaction when black children are dying.
Statistics on gun violence are notoriously hard to pin down — so much so that Slate has taken to crowd sourcing the stats on gun deaths since Sandy Hook (and that is one of our more accurate sources!) I can’t tell you specifically how many non-white children have been killed by gun violence in the past year.
I can tell you that in the past month over 900 people have been killed by a gun in the U.S.
I can tell you that 3,892 teens and children were killed by a gun in a homicide in 2008 and 2009.
I can tell you that sixty percent of them were black.
I can tell you that a black teenage boy is eight times more likely to be killed by a gun than his white counterpart. Two and a half more times more like than his latino counterpart.
I can tell you that 2,320 black children were killed over a two year period, and we the privileged said nothing.
Death is not a numbers game. Grief isn’t doled out proportionately. You and I both know this. Loss is terrible loss regardless of where we come from or what we look like. But the poor and the non-white are more likely to experience the kind of loss that is distributed from the barrel of a gun.
We didn’t much care, until now.
We should pay attention to these numbers. We should notice them and hold them in our hands–weighty, like the keys from a typewriter, hard, and cold, and sharp against our palms.
We should say, “I see you.”
We should say, “I’m sorry.”
We should say, “I didn’t know. I didn’t want to know. But now I do. Now I’ll serve. Now I’ll use what influence, what money, what power I have to help. Tell me how.”
Maya Angleou has reminded us “When you know better, you do better.”
Let’s do better.
- Work for justice with Colorlines
- Know better with this article: “Not Senseless. Not Random. The Deadly Mix of Race, Guns, and Madness.”
- Pin this infographic.
- Protect Children, Not Guns.
Today’s healing act is in memory of Dylan Hockley, age 6. Dylan loved video games, jumping on a trampoline, watching movies and munching garlic bread. He had blue eyes and dimples, and according to his grandmother “the most mischevious grin.” Dylan’s father Ian, mother Nicole, and older brother Jake referred to Dylan as the “little butterfly” because he used to flap his arms and pretend to soar. They honored his memory, and the memory of his classmates and teachers, by releasing 26 purple balloons — Dylan’s favorite color. *source info
More from 28 Days:
Response to Connecticut: A Prayer. A Plea.
An Ongoing Response
Tools for Tragedy
28 Days Main Page (info/graphics)
Day 1: The Healing Power of Whimsy (600 Monsters)
Day 2: Inhale Compassion, Exhale Love
Day 3: The Sandy Hook Promise (video)
Day 4: Say Thanks