Each year we produce a campaign video that depicts stories of people who struggle and are in process of overcoming their struggle with support from United Way agencies. This year we captured an unscripted scene in Ferguson, Missouri featuring Darius, an African American teenager, on his way to work. As he walked, a police cruiser rolled past and Darius smiled and waved at the officer. My colleague tells me that the police officer waved first. The video was produced many weeks before the current events that have grabbed our nation’s attention and nearly two years after Michael Brown’s death. In talking to young African American men who I mentor, they point out that this scene was true to life in that moment but is not always reflective of our reality. And still, we cannot dismiss the fact that this is exactly what we aspire for our relationship to be with law enforcement. This is the tension we live in. While relations are often strained and we are in the heart of the struggle, we’ve got to commit to tackle this challenge like we do all others, with the end goals in mind of justice, accountability, and relationship. Overcoming fear and a callous approach to one another sets the stage for life more abundant.
We will share this video with you in the coming weeks.