At a vigil-rally jointly sponsored by PJALS and the NAACP, hundreds of people gathered outside the county courthouse on July 9 in a show of solidarity and support in the aftermath of the killings in Minnesota, Louisiana, and Dallas. Among others, Phil Tyler, president of the NAACP, Sandy Williams, publisher of The Black Lens newspaper, and our own Liz Moore, PJALS director, offered inspiring words and their perspectives on a week of horror and tragedy, ways to heal, things to consider from a black mother’s point of view, and the importance of getting involved to end racism and violence.
The gathering itself of a diversity of communities was a beautiful example of unity and love. At one point a lone protester tried to disrupt the gathering but he was met with a collective refusal to be drawn into argument and tension, with love, hugs, and acceptance. Mr. Tyler effectively defused the tension by offering him his moment to speak, to name his issue, and it turned out, he, too, in his awkward way, was asking for love, a world of love and peace.
It was a moment of collective understanding among the people that we all suffer the residual trauma of violence and injustice and we mustn’t allow bitterness to divide us. As others have noted, only recognition, understanding and insight can rob trauma of its power. And by working together, building relations, we create the path to that recognition and understanding.