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Updated: May 30, 2020

A deeper perspective about the rising tensions about law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to serve.

Most people have some sort of navigation system in their cars or even on their cell phones. These systems allow us to input a desired destination and receive turn by turn instructions to our destination based on our current position or location. These navigation systems help us to avoid the frustration of getting lost and wasting valuable travel time. No longer do we find ourselves making a few wrong turns to find that we’ve only traveled in a circle and back to our original destination. I use the example of navigation systems and their benefits to spark consideration of a deeper perspective about the rising tensions about law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to serve. This tension between law enforcement and the community, particularly black communities is not a new revelation. As a society, we spend so much time trying to move forward on important social ills without the proper navigation system. As a result, we often times miss the mark on getting to a destination or outcome that will meet the needs of the people most impacted by social ills. As a great admirer of the spirit, dedication and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I recognize the importance of his influence in tackling civil rights issues in the 1960’s. In addition to being filled with passion, the civil rights movement was well navigated to ensure positive results for those whose civil rights were most impacted. As the leader of the civil rights movement, Dr. King was certainly a well-spoken man, but that was not the source of his ability to navigate the movement to the desired outcome. He was an amazing preacher who could disseminate the word of GOD like no other, but that was not the source of his ability to navigate the movement to the desired outcome. Dr. King’s ability to navigate the civil rights movement to the desired outcome was a result of him being connected to a high power and having a deeper perspective.

A deeper perspective is needed on how to best improve policies related to law enforcement and better serving young black men in need of support and encouragement. The intellectual capacity of community, government and other leaders will not bring lasting and enduring change. Dr. King was a man on a mission from GOD and I believe it was this relationship that served as his source of deeper insight and encouragement. As great as it would be for us to see the rise of the next Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we cannot sit back and wait for the next leader to step forward. We must work collectively in the same spirit of Dr. King by submitting to a higher power that can serve as our navigation system to direct us.

So the question is how do we come together as a multi-faith community without conflict and with enough like-mindedness to effect change? The easy answer when we are discussing leadership as it relates to issues of spiritual guidance is the church. I believe the church is an important source for leadership, but we must redefine the church as the community views it. The average citizen views the church as the building in the community where there’s a pastor overseeing Sunday services. For far too long, the church has been defined as the physical building instead of a body or group of individuals that believe in GOD or a higher power. I am proposing that all concerned people with their varied religious backgrounds come together under one unified movement to impact change in law enforcement and more positive outcomes for young men of color. I am under no misguided belief that the idea of this sort of spiritual unity is simple or easy. Our religious affiliations and beliefs are arguably the most intense and protected connections we have. We will challenge the particulars of each other’s faith to find fault and these are the sort of nuances of our respective faiths that could interfere with this proposed unity. But if we can somehow agree on the spirit of love and service to our fellow man that many of our faiths have in common, then we’ll be on our way to something great.

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