Mayor Billy Keyserling wrote about a delegation asking him to consider Beaufort's becoming a "Compassionate City." (charterforcompassion.org)
After the news of the George Zimmerman verdict, I wonder: If the city in Florida had taken the time and steps to become a Compassionate City, would it have stopped the killing of a young boy walking down the street in his neighborhood?
I struggle deeply knowing this killing was done in the name of a neighborhood watch program. Religions around the world proclaim the Golden Rule a tenet we agree on and strive to live by. Yet witnessing again the innocent murder of a black youth walking down the street of a neighborhood calls for compassion, and the verdict longs for justice.
Today, my concern is for the youth in my neighborhood of the Northwest Quadrant. Will they feel safe walking the streets of Beaufort now? Our society continues to criminalize dark skin, poverty and youth. How can we transcend this negative framework and see the humanity of our young people, black and white? What is the compassionate and just response that is stronger than anger and grief? Perhaps working toward becoming a Compassionate City is one way to respond.
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The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledged that love without justice is anemic. Let us show compassion while we work for justice by helping to change laws that promote racism. Call or text the mayor, asking him how you can help Beaufort become a Compassionate City for the sake of our youth.
The Rev. Nan L. White
Fellowship of Beaufort