Peacemaker Fridays: July 15, 2016

In the wake of last week's violence—the shootings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the five Dallas police officers—it can be hard to hear the voices of those who choose to love anyway. But they are there, stepping bravely into the anger, fear, and injustice. 

In memory of those who lost their lives last week, we wanted to introduce you to a few of these brave peacemakers who acted in small but tremendously impactful ways...  

Dallas imam and pastor bond in the midst of tragedy 

Dallas residents, Imam Omar Suleiman and Rev. Michael Waters had met many times before, always in the wake of tragedy. As shots rang out in Dallas last week, they spotted each other in the crowd as they fled, along with their respective parishioners. They flagged down a car and all piled in, sitting on each others' laps as they were taken to Waters' church. The two men sat together late into the night—praying, talking, lamenting. "We can’t keep going this way," Waters said. "We can’t just get together in response to violence. We have to be proactive." Despite all the fear, violence, and pain of that night, the two religious leaders forged a special bond. "If we were not brothers before this, we certainly are brothers now," said Suleiman. "We became family last night." Read more...

Black woman, white police officer share one another's grief

Natasha Howell's encounter with a Massachusetts police officer went viral after she shared it on Facebook. "I have no idea why he was moved to talk to me," she wrote. "What I do know is that he and I shared a moment this morning, that was absolutely beautiful."

Via Facebook

Thank you to Branden Harvey for sharing this story. Read more...

Michigan dad extends open hand to police

This week, Darren Kinsler and his three young children grabbed four dozen donuts and delivered them to his local police station. Kinsler grew up affected by racism, and he wants to help create a better world for his children by teaching them to reach out in kindness. He posted pictures of his visit to Facebook, hoping to start a wave of positive posts to help flood out the sea of negativity. "I'm challenging everyone to do something nice—it doesn’t have to be for a police officer or a black person—just do a random act of kindness and post it." Watch here...

Photos via Kalamazoo Dept. of Public Safety on Facebook

Former white supremacist, African-American ex-police officer: unlikely friends waging peace together

Tracy Kovach is a former white supremacist, drug user, and violent criminal. Cleo Lewis, an African-American, is a former police officer. Fifteen years ago, they were both behind bars and nearly killed each other in a prison brawl. Today, they are pastors and close friends. Lewis and Kovach recently took part in an Arizona community forum on community-police relations. "It’s sad... that we can’t communicate with each other," says Lewis, tearing up. "If we can change, anyone can." Watch here... 


Do you have a story to share? We would love to hear how you and your community are waging peace right where you are. And stay tuned for more hope-filled peacemaker stories next Friday!

About Kristin Giuliani

Storyteller and program developer at PLC; wife to a would-be farmer; mom to three crazy girls, including one with a mended heart; lover of quiet, camping, and the Great Reconciler.

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Peacemaker Fridays: July 15, 2016
Peacemaker Fridays: July 15, 2016
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