Four years ago, I wrote this:

I cried a lot this past week.

I cried when Alton Sterling was killed.

I cried when Philando Castile was killed.

And, I cried when five Dallas police officers were killed.

The tears were tears of sadness, but even more, they were shed in anger and frustration. When is the senseless killing of black men by police going to stop? When will lone gunmen learn that killing people because of who they are or the job that they do, solves nothing?

As a black woman, I fear for the lives of the black men in my family and those of my friends. As someone who worked closely with law enforcement officers for over 20 years, I fear for their lives, too. I know from personal experience that all black men are not criminals and all police officers are not racist.

The killing of black men by police is reaching epidemic proportions and it has got to stop. It is time that we have an honest conversation about race in the United States. 

Talking alone, however, will not change things. Movements like Black Lives Matter are important. Police training and screening have to be restructured and improved. Diverse individuals have to vote and run for office.

Hate is a strong emotion and it can paralyze you. But, love is so much more powerful. Love can spur you to action. I do not have it all figured out yet, but love for my people, my country and the values we hold, convinces me that I have to do something. I am tired of crying.

It’s four years later, the beginning of a new decade and I’m still crying, frustrated and angry. Maybe you are, too.

So, instead of writing about this month’s theme – Live Your Calling – once again, I feel like I have to say something about what’s going on in our country right now.

#1 – It’s Okay to Turn Down the Noise

Everywhere you look – TV, the Internet, social media, radio – the images and words bombard you over and over again. After the first day or so, I needed a break. It’s hard to get away from it all – and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get away from all of it, if nothing else, to give your mind a break. If you need a break, stop watching the news, stop reading online and stop scrolling through social media.

That doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means that for a moment, you need a break from all the noise. And, there’s nothing wrong with that.

#2 – Don’t Give Up

Things seem pretty hopeless right now. But when you look at the history of Black people in America, you see that we are survivors. Yes, these are hard times, and yes, we will get through them.

Now more than ever, it’s important for each of us – whether we’re Black, White, Brown or something else – to be a voice of hope. You were designed to have your own special sauce that can be used as a catalyst for change. So, don’t fear speaking up, writing something, donating money to help or anything else you believe can be a positive step in the right direction. Just don’t give up – keep going!

My prayer is that four years from now, I won’t be writing another message like this one. I refuse to believe that change will never come.