When we ate dinner at Whole Foods Thursday night, the most meaningful part of the experience for me was the view. Not the only meaningful thing, mind you, just the one that moved me the most. I had never seen the Lakefront from that angle.
Sitting in the cafe area, one looks out at the fountain, the large red sculpture, and Clyde's from the right-hand side. I don't think anyone in Columbia has ever routinely had that view except for those who have worked in the Rouse Building. It's pretty amazing to live in a community fifteen years and to suddenly be presented with a whole new view. It is a beautiful vista.
Once that view belonged to only a select few. Now it is open to many.
Following the news from Ferguson, Missouri in the news and on Twitter has been giving many of us a view we never wanted to have. Some in our community have known it all along, some have had an uneasy suspicion that it was so, some have looked right at it and not seen it.
Well-known illustrator Mary Engelbreit of St. Louis was censored by Facebook this week for posting this drawing. "To be clear, I did this drawing as an illustration of the ugly, hard truth that racial profiling is still happening in this country." Many comments on her drawing were hateful and racist. These people did not want to see "Mary Engelbreit" speak from the heart about an issue that made them angry or uncomfortable. That was not her place.
She wanted to say something about what she saw. She wanted to share her gifts from a different angle. Her drawing reminds us that "None of us are free if one of us is chained."
How will we respond in our own community?
Sunday afternoon from 2:00 to 3:30 Bridgeway Community Church will host "Building Bridges Between Law Enforcement and the Community." This event will be "a community-wide town hall meeting about 'Justice for All.' Come out to be a part of a community conversation about building bridges between law enforcement and the community."
We are all challenged by the events in Ferguson to take the risk to see from a different angle. Accepting the same old view is just not an option.