Lexington Avenue, NYC
June 16, 2020

Reconciliation

Last week, footage circulated of a 75-year-old man knocked to the ground by the police in Buffalo, New York. Blood poured from the man’s head. The cops kept walking. Our president suggested it was all a set-up designed to make the police look bad, that maybe the blood was fake. The man has a fractured skull and may never walk again.

Yesterday the Supreme Court confirmed that civil rights apply to people who are gay, bisexual, or transgender. It’s insane that such a question even needed to be litigated, yet most American states allowed people to be fired because of who they love. The 6-3 ruling came as a surprise, an unexpected flicker of humanity from a conservative court.

Last weekend another black man was killed by the police after they found him asleep in his car in a fast-food parking lot. The medical examiner’s report said the 27-year-old man died of “gunshot wounds of the back.” There’s something so damning about that “of”—the hardwired refusal to assign responsibility, as if “gunshot wounds of the back” just happen like a rash.

Protest continue. As of today, ninety-eight American cities have used tear gas on their citizens this summer.

I’m writing these things down because I want to remember they happened before they are eclipsed by the next catastrophe, the latest inhuman event. I’ll want to reconcile these moments with the choices I’m making and the actions I’m taking. I want to square my life with these instructions from Thích Nhất Hạnh: “Vow to work for reconciliation by the most silent and unpretentious means possible.”

Each night in 2020 I'm writing a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I want to etch these days into my memory before I forget them. Before the world changes completely.
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