Is anyone listening?

“Regardless of any loss of life and limb, honor and property, we would stand firm, with all for one and one for all… nor would we be subservient, but rather we would loyally help and protect each other to the utmost, against all difficulties.” ~ Helfferich, Tryntje , The Thirty Years War (2009)


Lamon Reccord, of Chicago Illinois lays down in protest of violence in his community.

Glo Boy Lo-Lo, AKA Lamon Record, leads a life of broken silence. I recently discovered him randomly on a social media site after 16 year old Pierre Loury was shot dead by police last week.

16 year old Pierre Loury

Lamon’s Facebook status in early march reached a thousand people in which he wrote the following quote: “Standing in the streets on 79th & Cottage Grove with a Black Lives Matter sign to tell the black community that we need to tell each other Black Lives Matter because it’s not just the police killing us, we killing each other but we too Black to see it.” He urges his own community to, “Put the guns down.”

So this is, even the fact that it is being addressed, significant all by itself. When is the last time a leader talked about violence from all sides? When is the last time mass media covered black lives matter as a self reflecting internal look at the symptoms inside it’s community in addition to criminal justice reform? The President launched a bipartisan program in early 2014 with emphasis on role models and leadership as one of it’s six point focus goals.Oprah did a documentary about Michael B. Jordan and others mentoring. But the black lives matter movement seems to be a grass roots organization of it’s own. It get’s every day people like Lamon to lay down and protest, and walk through 79th street telling everyone to put the guns down. Leadership is making a difference, the question, with the event’s like Pierre’s death reignite healing and progress and trigger past dead horses.


Matthew Vines is the founder and president of The Reformation Project

It’s a non-profit organization dedicated to confronting ignorance on the misinterpretations used to bash people who identify as gay, bi, lesbian, transsexual, or questioning. He talks around the United States and occasionally on national mass media regarding the intersection of faith and sexuality today. His message is welcoming, loving, and affirming. I wrote extensively on this subject in a reflection on Matthew Shepard, which can be read here.


The oldest Mosque in Portland hosted an interfaith standing room only discussion this last Saturday on the meaning behind Islam, which literally means, “submission and peace.” — It is a timely and important discussion to define who the “They” is/are when we start talking about generalized groups of people. I spoke at great length with Abdul Rahim Hubbf, who represents the Islamic community. In the context of current events, one comes away with the differences between authentic faith and perverted extremism of Islam.

Abdul Rahim Hubbf, Member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and peace activist

The fact that the group has created a counter message and unity call to other mosques in the region is under reported in all forms off mass media. We all bring our plate to the same table no matter our tradition. Portland has space for all traditions and Islam is among them. It’s why interfaith groups will sponsor Syrian refugees this year. Is it possible you misunderstand this tradition in your own community? Have you stepped into a mosque in your entire life? A leader has invited you to their most intimate space. If you cannot be open minded, than you shouldn’t come. There’s the door. Only you can take open doors and close them shut. But the question is why? You eat at the same table. There is no them. We are just us. You chew just like us. Christian, Jew, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, Wiccan, Buddhist, we all eat at the same table. Join others in warming inclusion and embracing our neighbors despite our disagreements.

Next time someone says there is no leadership on violence inside the black community, you can tell them they are wrong. Next time someone says there is no leadership inside the Church to stand for love and acceptance for sexuality and faith, they are wrong. Next time someone says there are no Muslims speaking out against extremism or violence inside the United States or around the world, they are wrong. Now you tell me, what do Abdul, Matthew, and Lamon have in common? How can we benefit from their example? Is anyone listening? Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno?

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