How can Shoreline become a safe place for all of us?

>>>We recently sponsored and published a petition to support our local Shoreline area BIPOC youth. Read more and sign here! Why this petition and why now? Read on below.<<<

I have never met a person who said they were racist. It’s no wonder. The word “racist” conjures up negative images of hatred, malice, evil-doing. We in Shoreline are better than that, aren’t we? For proof, on June 26th, more than 4,000 Shoreline residents rallied and marched to protest the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police. How could there be racism in Shoreline?   

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King used the story of the good Samaritan to help us understand why we had to get involved in the fight to end segregation.  The question for the good Samaritan was not “What will happen to me if I stop to help this man attacked by robbers and left for dead?”  The question was: “What will happen to this man if I don’t?”

I could imagine in the story, the victim in the road crying out to passers by, “Help, save me, I’m dying!”

The religious leader walks by and says, “All lives matter,” leaving the man in the road. So too says the teacher of the law. 

Then the Samaritan comes by. He bandages the man’s wounds, puts him on his donkey, and puts him up in the inn to recover. 

Do all lives truly matter to the religious leader and teacher of the law if they don’t stop to help?  

We all want to live in peace, in the absence of fear. To truly live in peace, we have to be able to trust in the goodness of other people. What if you felt threatened by your neighbors?

What if you called out for help and none of your neighbors responded?  

What if the reason they didn’t respond to your call for help was that they were afraid of you, or thought less of you, or had preconceived notions of who you were because you don’t look like them?

Words alone don’t calm those fears. What makes a difference is action. Every day seeing people in the neighborhood reaching out to each other, getting to know each other, caring for each other, and standing up for each other. And everyone having the opportunity to be both an active giver and receiver.

Racism is a word that describes a very different scenario. I have a friend who experienced some very nasty racist remarks from his neighbor. It is hard to imagine living next door to someone who expressed hatred for you only because of your race. This neighbor may feel he has some power over my friend.  

Another incident in Shoreline, this time with a 13-year old girl who experienced racism from a neighbor, was reported on by the Shoreline Area News (SAN). The author was a friend of the neighbor. The article implied that the 13-year old was wrong to feel threatened by the actions of her neighbor. The author defended her friend and left the impression the girl was a twenty year old woman.  

People are stressed by the pandemic and all the violent political speech they are hearing, such as references to protesters as violent looters. Unintentional or not, the SAN article contributed to racism by questioning the validity of the young girl’s thoughts and responses.  

We need local news that is unbiased. We need local news that actively contributes to anti-racism efforts, so that all of us will feel we can trust our neighbors to care about us and come to our aid if we ask for help.

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