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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Spady

"STOP KILLING US!"-Words Matter

A goat is never pronounced innocent if the judge is a leopard. An African Proverb

Joy Reid, MSNBC Host of AM Joy, ended a segment on the Morning Joe Show yesterday with a very passionate plea, “Just stop killing us!”. This declaration resonated with me, not because I love to hear the words people choose to express themselves, but how they use the words. As I listened to Ms. Reid using her words to deliver that brief, passionate commentary on the plight of our communities at this time, (words have power) she said something else that made me think. Her words were, “Blacks feel hunted.”

Do we feel “hunted”? Personally, I would answer yes! Metaphorically we could equate this to an old African Proverb, “A goat is never pronounced innocent if the judge is a leopard.” It’s as if we just don’t stand a chance. We are “hunted” on our jobs, in our communities, in the streets…We are judged and presumed guilty until “we” prove our innocence. With leopards in leadership positions, we just don’t stand a chance.

The rage that is being displayed over Mr. George Floyd’s murder by the four policemen in Minneapolis, Minnesota, gives you reason to pause and just think about how long these injustices have ensued. Just how deep the rage goes and how diversely people are handling it. I’m not condoning burning down communities; however, understanding it. Each of us must walk in the light that we have been given. Kwame Nkrumah once said, “I am an African, not because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me.” I understand it because I am an African American-a woman. I have lived almost seven decades; I have experienced it. I have lived it and witnessed it. It’s in me. I am tired.

But what can I do? What can you do? What can we do? Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 10:16, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Realizing that there are “wolves” and “leopards” out there; I can, (we can) choose to remain hostile and enraged or I can channel my energy and light towards positivity to help others manage. I am not an artist, lawyer, doctor, minister, journalist, politician or judge; however, I am a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ. Doesn’t cost me a thing to do that. I choose to do that. I can read, study, and spread the “good news”.

Continuing with Matthew 10 in verse 28, Jesus told the Twelve, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Yes, Ms. Reid, I agree with you and I strongly feel your words… “STOP KILLING US!” Maybe we should add to your words, if you can’t give a life, then don’t take a life!

So, let us not fear these “wolves” and “leopards” in sheep’s clothing. Let us instead be alert, woke, and focus on the light that we have been given to shine in our own individual ways. Let us use words to spread the “good news” that we do not have to fear the “wolves” and “leopards”, instead the ONE who can destroy both the soul and body. Let us be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves”, and though as cliché as this may sound at this time, let us remember that the biblical Solomon said, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit-YOU choose.”(Proverbs 18:21)

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