This Thursday, at 7 p.m. there will be a gathering/vigil on the green in Snellville, GA.
My church is right across the street from the gathering and we have been told that anyone who wants to can park in the church lot for free so they can go to the gathering.
It is a peaceful gathering of people to mourn and to ask for healing for our communities and our nation.
So why do I not want to go?
Because I am afraid.
My stomach ties up in knots just thinking about going there and being gunned down.
Is my community violent? no. But I’m having an unreasoning, gut-level, panic just thinking about going to this.
I’m also not sure I want to take my 7 year old along.
We have, so far, raised Ginny in a way that she doesn’t know that people’s skin should make any difference. To her all people are just people. I know it sounds impossible, but it’s how I was raised too. She knows that some people are horrible to others based on skin color, but she also knows that behavior like that is horribly wrong. She is an innocent child and I am fighting to keep her that way for as long as possible.
The idea of going to this gathering scares me, in part because I won’t be an adult alone in a potentially hostile situation. I would be an adult trying to keep a tender 7 year old girl safe too. That may not be possible.
But if I’m totally honest with myself, even if I were an adult, alone or with body guards, I would still be terrified of going to this gathering. The idea of being gunned down simply for being white is something I’ve never faced.
Someone could shoot us.
Someone could yell at us or threaten us.
The crowd could get ugly even if nothing is directed at us personally.
Sure, it could all go beautifully. We could all join hands, pray, cry, and beg God to heal each heart.
But it could all go wrong.
Is this what black people feel every time they go places?
Do they fear being hurt, threatened, yelled at, cursed or blamed at every turn? I can’t imagine living with this threat hanging over my head my whole life.
I’m struggling with this. Really struggling. I’ve never marched before or gone to a public vigil like this. Not because I was afraid, but because it is not really my thing. I think you get further by helping individual people. But the events of last week seem to call for something more than my usual. It seems to call for me to step outside my comfort zone.
The problem is that as soon as I even contemplated going to this gathering…..the fear hit me. I don’t want to be a hypocrite……
but I’m scared.
I sincerely welcome thoughtful comments or dialogue.