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I had A Phonebook and He had a Shotgun

In my mid-twenties, struggling financially, I decided to get a part-time job to help make ends meet. I signed on to be a part-time delivery person who delivered telephone books. My instructions were to deliver the phonebook to local residents. If no one was home, the directive was to place the phonebook on the front porch.

My second day on the job, I arrived at a residence, got out of my car with phonebook and identification in hand. As I walked down the driveway to place the phonebook on the front porch, a white gentleman came around the house from the back yard with a shot gun in his hand. As I tried to identify myself and state my purpose for being at his home, he yelled obscenities at me, held up his shotgun and told me to get off of his property.

I retreated to my car, phonebook and identification in hand and I drove away crying.

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I will never forget my feelings from that day and I can’t help but think I was greeted in such a way because of the color of my skin. I was a small-framed, 24 year old single-mother to an infant baby girl. I had a phonebook and he had a shotgun.

At Origins of Peace, LLC, my mission is to create an all-inclusive space welcoming all who’ve experienced hardship, conflict and turmoil. My goal is to help you create a new way forward. We are founded on Romans 12:18 NIV – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

In this season, I am focusing my intentions on promoting the health, safety and well-being of Black Americans. Our struggle is real and it deserves extra attention. My experience occurred over 20 years ago and to still live in a society were we are judged, disrespected and in many cases killed because of the color of our skin is awful and heartbreaking.

I am outraged over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and all the other murders that have occurred because of racism and police brutality. These people had families, careers, hopes and dreams. It’s terrible to have it all taken away simply because of someone else’s opinion of who they think you are.

There are so many changes that need to occur but let’s start with informed, intentional voting. Can we please demand more from our government leaders? We need healing, justice, and a progressive way forward.

There is an initiative called #8cantwait. were you can demand change right now.

1.Visit8cantwait.org

2. Find your city

3. Call your mayor

4. Demand change

8cantwait

Peace.

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762

Before we get too much further into the New Year, I have to take time to acknowledge the 2016 record-breaking violence in the city of Chicago. 762 represents the number of shootings that occurred in that city last year. More surprisingly than that, 61 of those shootings occurred on Christmas Day.

There have been many attempts to curb the violence but as of yet, nothing has worked.

I chose to make this post to offer my condolences to all the family members, friends and to the community of those who were lost or wounded. 762 is a large number. I’m sure my words give you little comfort but please know that my heart aches with you and my mind works overtime thinking of solutions that could possibly make a difference.

To the City’s West Side: I am sorry you do not see hope in your situation. I am sorry that options are scare. I am sorry that you feel unheard. I am sorry that you feel defeated. I am sorry that your lives aren’t valued. I am sorry that gangs have overtaken your community. I am sorry that the lives of infants and children aren’t cherished. I am sorry for all the lives that have been lost or forever changed by senseless violence.  I pray for hope in your situation. I pray for more options for you to choose from. I pray that you use your voice to speak your truth. I pray that you realize your value. I pray for victory in your lives. I pray that you know you are worthy. I pray that gang violence is eliminated. I pray for the lives of your children and their families. I pray that your community is revitalized.

Praying for Peace,

Melissa