The Power of One
“Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord your God fights for you, just as He has promised.” Joshua 23:10 (NLT)
Today, as I blanket myself in numbness watching the pain that engulfs our country, the idea it only takes one comes to mind. It only takes one to shock our country into compassion. George Floyd was the one. While he was not the only senseless murder of a person of color; he was the one. The one who the world watched in horror as his life ebbed away with a knee on his neck and the person inflicting this horrendous crime did not even look down to acknowledge this was a human being beneath his knee. The pleas of “I can’t breathe” and the calls out to a mother, long deceased were not enough for him to acknowledge this is someone’s son, father, brother, husband, friend. So, why is it with all the senseless killings of Black people I know about, did this incident with George Floyd leave me speechless and numb? It occurred to me, this is so different because, to me, what happened to George Floyd is akin to a modern day lynching. Knee on neck; a slow, eight and a half minute, painful death; in a public place with people watching at the hand of a white person of the law. Not saying this to incite, elicit pity, instigate, or make matters worse. This is just the way I see it. This is why this time, the incident, in my eyes, is so deplorable. Yet, that one horrific incident started a worldwide movement of acknowledgement and hopefully, compassion.
But, I still cannot completely wrap my head around this one. Being born in 1950 and raised during the 1960’s, I have seen firsthand the “colored only” signs at water fountains, bathrooms. The “colored section” on the Clearwater Causeway where we would go swimming, the “whites only” rules at the lunch counters in downtown St. Petersburg, FL. I can remember standing outside one of those stores on Central Ave, looking through the window, watching white people sit at the lunch counter, eating, wondering why I could not go in, sit at the counter and order a hot dog and a root beer. I have taken Liberation trains from Tampa to Washington, DC, Freedom bus trips from Baltimore, Md to Atlanta, GA; marched, protested, been tear gassed, held up signs, chanted, prayed, attended rallies, participated in boycotts, wrote government officials. So, I am not new to these scenes of racial inequality that drive the protests we see today. But, I ‘m tired; so very tired.
Then, a few days ago hope started rising up to ease away some of the fatigue when I went into a Family Dollar store. I was in line, an elderly white woman turned around and said I could go ahead of her; she had a full basket and I had a few items. I saw her let one couple go ahead of her. So, I said, “No thank you. Your time is just as valuable as mine. I can wait.” Then, she turned around and said, “I’m so sorry about what happened to George. It was so wrong. It was murder. My husband and I watched the funeral. I was so touched by all the speeches, especially his brother.” She went on to say, “My husband and I want to do something about all this. Something has to change. “I teared up, looked at her as I allowed the depth of her heartfelt words sink in. I could not find any words. Then, slowly, I found my voice and said, “you just did.” I went on to thank her for her kindness. Somehow, her words started a healing within me. Acknowledgement from an older, white person who had lived through times when racial inequality was the norm. She was the one. Her words, “It was wrong. I want to do something about it,” sank deeply within me.
I, too, want to do something about it. But, what? Right now, I am not sure. However, I know the answer is out there; it only takes one. I believe a deep seated, systematic change will occur. I just do not know when. But I can hope. I have to believe that, One, a Higher Power, God, is in control of this tide.
My brother, Billy, said, dialogue needs to be between whites and their white friends and family members. His wife, Cheryl, says, “reach one, teach one.” It only takes one. One to pause, think about words, not spew out insults. One to unite, not divide. One to strive to understand, not take offense. One to demonstrate hope, not indifference, not hate.
This is relentless faith. The action of one to light a flicker of hope; one elderly white lady telling me she and her husband wanted to do something. If that idea of wanting to do something translates into action, if that action simply means talking to someone I have never talked to before, then, we can reach one and then another, then another…
God, guide me and lead me. Show me how I can be a catalyst for change right where I am. Let me be the one and remember it only takes one and One is a powerful number. Let me remember we are all in this together. Amen!!!
My dear forever friend, maybe the world is finally seeing we are One. I love you!
Donna, I, too, pray that the world is finally seeing we are One. I pray this is what is happening!! Love you, too!
It is so heartwarming and powerful to see young people of all races in these protests. I hope this power will translate into votes this November. We need accountability from the grassroots to the federal levels. My hope is for white people to talk to other white people and realize that things can’t continue as they have been.
Billy, you are so right.
Aunt Mary this was an awesome piece. I was wondering what your thoughts were during this difficult time. Thank u for ur insight. Love you!
Andrea, thank you for your words. Yes, indeed, we are in difficult times. I pray for a change. Love you, too!!
Arie Chever McBride
Good Morning Mary, thank you for such a powerful message. I too am numb,by the lynching of George Floyd it was just so unnecessary and so heartless. I so want this all to stop,and yes, how do we stop it ? We( the Whole World), needs compassion for each other,if only we would treat each other as we would like to be treated,regardless of skin color,we all bleed Red.
Just a few days ago,another Black man was killed in Atlanta. It is truly time for a change.I like you have marched,protested attended rallies had prayer vigils. I so would like to know what I can do, my prayer is that the Good Lord who is in charge of it all will guide me in the direction I need to go to help bring Peace. It does only take one,but then another one,and yet another one and look at what we can accomplish. Yes, We are All in this Together,and with GOD All things are Possible…..Love you Sis.
Arie, thank you so much for your insight and for your words. I just pray there is an end to this madness and once and for all we realize, like you said, we all bleed red. How can you treat someone so poorly simply because of the color of one’s skin? It’s insane. But, again, like you said, with God all things are possible. I have to hold on to that promise. Love you, too, my sister
My heart is broken over all that’s going on as well. It’s strange when your Caucasian friends call or text to say they are sorry and want to help want to do something to put it all to an end. It will take those of all races binding together and all taking a stance that enough is enough and we demand True equality!!!!
It’s time to press in and not stop protesting , speaking out and signing petitions Ect… We must not stop until we see a true change in this country.
It’s our time to connect with our fellow Americans around the world of all races and ethnicities to say we won’t turn our heads away anymore we demand this stops and accountability is placed where it belongs .
Angie, those are such powerful words. Thanks for sharing. I, too, believe that it will take all of us, all races and ethnicities, working together to create a change. I have to believe with the help of God, it will happen.
My dear auntie, thank you so much for expressing your thoughts, pain, love & experiences! The grace of God is so awesome in spite of all that we as a black race had to encounter & are still encountering. Because I was born 1960 & grew up in N. J. there were a lot of things that I was blessed not to experience but because I grew up in the suburbs,( Montclair), which the next block over was upper Montclair, I did experience some but not much racism. I remember while in elementary school I was told that we (blacks) couldn’t walk home through the upper Montclair area by a police officer. Well I politely told him that I had a girlfriend who lived in the area & that I was coming from her house. I thank God that I was my only encounter. I tend to believe that there is some thing mighty special about the black race because the devil has been trying for so many years to kill, steal & destroy us but, I believe God is saying, enough is enough! Yes one can put 1000 to flight and I see God joining many people together as one especially so many of our white brothers & sisters who are taking a stand against this injustice which has been going on for too long. I’m awaiting with great expectation to see the goodness of God in all of this. Blessings to you Mary for allowing God to use you to help us stay encouraged & uplifted through life’s journey!
Love you greatly!
Precious, your words are such a blessing. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Love you much.