Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas candles

The recent losses and outcries for justice in Ferguson and New York hit close to home because twice a week I work in the Los Angeles County jail, caring for men who were fortunate enough to survive their arrests. Most are young black men, who are arrested disproportionately compared with their counterparts of other races. 

I never ask my patients why they were arrested. 
Instead,I ask: what are your goals? 

The answers are humbling:
I'm taking classes so I can keep custody of my son. He's nine months now.
I want to have my own Christmas tree someday.
I'm gonna open my own accounting firm; I only need six more credits to finish my degree. 
I want to be a hairdresser. I have a lot of sisters; I'm really good at doing hair. 
I've never walked on the beach with my friend; I want to do that someday. 
So as Christmas comes, I light candles:
A candle in memory of the lives who have been lost. 
A candle for peace, that there would be racial healing and justice in this country. 
A candle of hope, that these men will get the chance to live out these dreams. 
Wishing you a new year filled with hope and peace.