Guest Editorial by Melvin Russell: L.O.V.E. Is The Answer … even in times like these!

(BALTIMORE – May 31, 2020) – Greetings, Beloved. Such jarring and perilous heighten times we have been thrust into yet again ignited by some of the very ones who took an oath to PROTECT AND SERVE US ALL. I have been an assistant pastor for 10 years, one who prayerfully served in the role of police officer humbly and compassionately for almost 40 years, and a black boy raised in Baltimore City that grew into a black man with 8 children (6 being black boys and men). This recent atrocity against George Floyd, a fellowman whose skin color alone placed him in the path of unwarranted and deadly danger from some of those who are supposed to be a beacon of justice and peace, has pricked me deeply.

The gamut of feelings that crash over my mind is beyond words. Hurt, anger and disappointment do no justice to explain my mind and heart’s state. And yet I press through to believe we can and we shall do better than this as a people. Black people cannot and, I sense, will no longer bear the anguish and oppression of any racist people that feel it’s their right to suppress and destroy beautiful black and brown people. Minneapolis you are more than in my prayers and I encourage you to fight THE GOOD FIGHT as difficult as that is right now.

I am past hurt as again communities, a city, our nation has been divided because some of our supposedly peace officers have violated a select people born of kings and queens by blatantly rearing their deeply seeded wickedness to yet again setback any progress that the righteous people and good police officers work so hard at restoring (community trust and relational equity abroad).

We have been oppressed for centuries in this country alone and too much of leadership at every level has helped nurture this volatile culture whether it be their vile words, exclusionary and degrading practices, or simply ignorance by forcing blindness upon their eyes.

We need strong leadership that is well-balanced in their doings and enforcing equality at every level (economic, educational, housing, etc). We need leadership that is passionate not passive, compassionate not insensitive, wise not foolish, accountable to serve all rather than self-servant to please themselves and a few influential. Strong leaders that will never oppress and exclude any class, race or religion of any people while never kowtowing down to lawlessness. Stand and stand tall leaders (you’ll sleep better at night and most certainly please GOD). Faith-based leaders we need you to come out from beyond the walls and stay out more than in engaging and serving your communities. At the same time (and please hear my heart) we as a people can and absolutely should be outraged, angry, vocal and hopefully thrust into appropriate actions, BUT it is never okay to loot, burn, destroy or assault anything tied to the oppressor AND, for goodness’ sake, never tear down that which belongs to us and our communities!

Family, L.O.V.E. Is The Answer … even in times like these! Together, we can oust, uproot, vote-out all the undercover to overt members who continue to push this divisiveness and a rhetoric that clearly has cost blacks the ultimate price through horrific murders (often justified by the oppressors). All lives absolutely matter, but can we please be honest as there is a fire spreading through America (whether it’s unfathomable tragedies like with George Floyd, Covid-19 and the toll it’s impact has in poor communities, the Opiod Epidemic, housing and job discrimination, etc.) and it’s directly affecting a particular race more than any other, so that’s why Black Lives Matter.

And to all my brothers in these streets, if you know we matter, stop helping to perpetuate this devouring nemesis and stop slaying one another. To every white, black, brown, yellow and red person that has and continues to be a lifter and helper of all men … thank you and so proud to call you my brothers and sisters.

A special thank you to my beloved chaplains and every good BPD officer. Please keep serving valiantly. To all of my beloved Baltimore, we have had our 1968 and 2015 episodes, so as we stand in solidarity with our Minneapolis family: let us say never again in Baltimore, for we have learned, we have grown and now we are better than that. We can all coexist together and thrive through the spirit of unity and love. I’m ready to help you and all of us. Love U All 2Life 💕