"It was for me the day of vengeance; I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support." - Isaiah 63:4-5
The deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others, followed by the non-indictment or acquittal of those who killed them, have unleashed a firestorm of protests throughout our nation.
I attended one such Protest/Town Hall Meeting in Atlanta, GA at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke about the Justice Department's resolve to relieve the tensions between black communities and the police by working to equip police with body cameras and providing more incentives for the development of community-based policing.
A number of students from colleges and universities in metro-Atlanta stormed out of the meeting in loud protest and proceeded to hold their own rally just outside of the church. When I exited the church, I stopped to observe the student rally.
I discovered that the students were not just protesting against alleged excessive policing in black communities, they were protesting against alleged injustices of U.S. immigration laws and against legal biases that deny marriage equality and hurt gay families.
The student rally was a coalition of Black, White, Latino, Asian and Queer students who wanted America to know emphatically that each of their lives matter.
According to Isaiah, the day of vengeance and redemption is occasioned by the awesome presence of one who marches through the land proclaiming victory and wearing garments splattered with blood. This mighty one laments that he is all alone because no one from the nations stands with him in support.
But in America, things are changing. People are connecting the dots and finding that a threat to justice anywhere is really a threat to justice everywhere.
God, help us to see in others all that we want for ourselves.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.