A Letter to the Blogosphere

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Dear Blogosphere,

I apologize for my lack of presence lately. I’m feeling depressed, and I’m avoiding you.

Oh, sometimes I will pop by to visit a few writers here and there. I tend to stick with the short-worded writers, as I feel the panic grows inside me the longer I stay within your sphere.

My depression started when I was taking part in things outside my realm of normalcy. I changed up my writing schedule and style, and I wrote with the hope of ‘winning’ rather than for the joy of writing.

Then came the news about a shooting in Florida. I’m sure you know the shooting to which I am referring, George Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin on Sunday February 26, 2012.

Like many, I was appalled with the news as it trickled down the wire. Like many, I was inspired by the reaction of the community, coming together to take a stand in hopes of getting charges filed against Mr. Zimmerman.

As the days passed, I noticed the tone changing. The alleged hate that filled George’s heart causing him to kill Trayvon seemed to slowly seep into the hearts of others, as Twitter lit up with harsh words, harsh sentiments and what was thought to be the home address of George, himself.

Why would someone tweet the address of another? Why?

I don’t have an answer for that question. All I know is the address tweeted and retweeted to countless people was the address of a couple in their seventies, the McClains. The McClains had nothing to do with either Trayvon or George, yet the hatred and outrage of people, brought them into the mix and caused them to leave their home and check into a hotel out of fear.

According to Elaine McClain, reporters were showing up at their door and hate mail started filling their mailbox. Hate mail.

Hate mail sent to two innocent people, completely unrelated to either Trayvon or George.

Blogosphere, I can relate to anger, and I can relate to rage, because I have battled both emotions in my life. But I cannot relate to or understand why people would tweet someone’s address without permission. Aren’t the tweeters circulating the same kind of hatred they claim to be against?

Aren’t we all under the assumption that ‘hate’ started this whole thing in the first place? When will we stop the cycle of hate?

Blogosphere, I don’t know if this matters – actually, it probably doesn’t matter. But I still wonder if both parties involved were the same color or ethnic origin, would the same thing happen? Would the shooter’s address be tweeted and retweeted?

I believe the address was tweeted and retweeted with a malicious intent, and I believe anyone and everyone who retweeted it should be ashamed of getting caught up in a mob mentality rather than an informed and decisive community.

Recently, I made a comment on a post I read. I wrote:

Racism is a word that is thrown out and used by many, but I wonder if those that use it know the meaning – based on Merriam Webster: “Racism: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” I don’t deny racism exists in some – I do not believe is still predominant in today’s society. I just don’t.

After making the comment and talking with others, I concede that racism is more prevalent than I cared to admit. I think racism is a result of violence. I think violence fuels fear, which fuels ignorance, which fuels racism. If we stop the violence, I believe racism will be a thing of the past. And yes, I have hope that racism will be a thing of the past.

Blogosphere, I admire the work Cease Fire Chicago is doing, along with the other Cease Fire organizations throughout the U.S. (though more are needed). Cease Fire was profiled in a documentary called The Interrupters. I wish everyone would take time to see the documentary and get to know the people behind Cease Fire.

Blogosphere, as long as we are yelling at one another and filling our hearts with hate, we lose. Period.

.|.

These things have been weighing heavily on my heart for weeks. I reached out to a friend, letting her know how I was feeling. This friend of mine is an atheist, and I am a Christian. I do not judge her for her beliefs, and she does not judge me for my beliefs.

My friend responded to me by saying, “Pray about this Lenore. You have faith. This can help you. Ask Him to get you through this rough time; to give you the skills to get past all this crap and horrid, horrid stuff going on in our country.”

Amen, friend. Thank you for reminding me what to do with my sadness. I wish everyone could find something to believe in that is bigger than him or herself. Hate is such a vicious beast, and it needs a higher power to beat it.

With hope, love and prayers for peace,

Lenore

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Interrupted with hope

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UPDATE: Tonight, February 14th, Frontline (on your local PBS station) is airing a special about ‘The Interrupters’. I hope you’ll watch it or record it to watch later.

One night, while driving in my car, I tuned into National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. Terry Gross was interviewing Steve James and Ameena Matthews about the documentary film titled “The Interrupters”.

Directed and photographed by Steve James, and produced by Alex Kotlowitz and Steve James, “the documentary tells the moving and surprising story of three dedicated individuals who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they themselves once employed. These “violence interrupters” (their job title) – who have credibility on the street because of their own personal histories – intervene in conflicts before the incidents explode into violence. Their work and their insights are informed by their own journeys, which, as each of them point out, defy easy characterization.” [The Interrupters’ Press Kit.]

Though I heard this particular radio program days ago, the story is in my heart and on my mind. Continue reading