He Chose the Wrong Family
Vice President Mike Pence stated, “To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today: you did not win.”
Interviewed by Alan Shope with KMBC, Channel 9 on January 7, we talked through the siege on the capitol in Washington D.C. the day prior. He called me to ask what Faith Always Wins Foundation was saying and thinking during this time. It’s simple, really. We are thinking and saying the same thing we have over the past six years of our existence.
Hate is loud, ugly and can include violence
Hate is loud, ugly and can include violence, as it did when my father and son were murdered by a white supremacist in April 2014. One man wanted Jews dead that day. He illegally gathered guns, made a plan and took action at the Jewish Community Center and The Village Shalom both in Overland Park, Kansas. Three innocent, caring and loving people were gunned down because he hated enough to do so.
Hate rhetoric had flowed from his voice for years. As social media provided him the opportunity his evil ideology reached more via neo-nazi websites and message boards. This same hate rhetoric, allowed to continue, exploded in the violent actions he took against my 69-year old father, 14 year-old son and another woman, 53 year-old Theresa LaManno.
I know what it feels like to grieve. I know what it feels like to suffer, suffer from the greatest loss of any parent, losing a child. I choose to shine a light on peace, which takes courageous kindness. Notice the word “CHOOSE”. To make a choice of hope, love and peace we have to feel it ourselves, from a source that could be God, family, friends and mentors. My quote about the murderer’s selection of my family members for his hate has always been, “You picked the wrong family.”
There is a collective grief in our midst, a shared anger and sorrow hanging over our United States of America.
We can overcome this. I know because I have been on this journey for seven years. Let’s say it together, love one another. Forgive one another. Yes, both of these can seem too difficult to overcome. To find love and forgiveness for our brothers and sisters who are in disagreement with us is hard and it takes effort, not just time, but true effort.
What is missing from my interview with Alan Shope, I am certain because of time and not content, is my plea for an understanding of one another. Listening to each other tell our stories, in full, not in sound bites. There is no way to make this happen on any social media outlet. True conversation and communication are needed. Front porch coffees and teas with our neighbors rather than watching mainstream news channels all day long. Engage with a neighbor virtually, attend a church, synagogue or mosque service to seek their story and reach for an understanding of who they are. Start giving of yourself, offering another person JOY and you will feel the JOY.
Find a person of interest with whom you disagree and ask them how they came to their beliefs. Ask with curiosity rather than chiding. If you voted for Biden/Harris be available to reach out your hand and pull in your neighbor who might still have their Trump sign in the yard. Taking a cup of hot cocoa or some chocolates sounds like a good idea. Does this sound like “take the high road”? It should. If you voted for Trump and are angry, concerned and bewildered as to why your family members or neighbors didn’t, ask them…in a calm and safe environment. Again with the hot cocoa or perhaps some apple pie. If you don’t believe in systemic racism, follow some of my friends, Kiona Sinks and Dr. Nicole Price, they can walk with you to a clear understanding of what their lives are like as women of color.
Our foundation, Faith Always Wins hosts 30 high school students in our Kindness Youth Leadership Team. These students are mentored in volunteerism, philanthropy, creation and implementation of SevenDays® Make a Ripple, Change the World and all of it with KINDNESS at the forefront. Our students engage and seek to understand one another as they come from various backgrounds. With a common intention and a plethora of avenues to reach it, they have…live conversations with one another to reach conclusions. Everyone cannot get their way. But each “way” selected can be a win-win for all.
Friends, we want a more peaceful America. We all want clean water, healthy children and soft toilet paper. Let’s make it happen in 2021.
Stay safe, wear a face cover to protect yourself and your loved ones!
Together, we are better.