A father in the hood

I just want to share something that happened recently. This badly upset me and my wife Christine.

It was a cool evening. We were outside doing some gardening. David, my 14­–year–old son, had a friend come over and they started riding their bikes.

Then a police officer drove down the street and slowed to watch them.

My daughter ran to me and said, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! The police are looking at David!” I went out, and he drove off.

After we dropped David’s friend home, we went into our house and tried to have a discussion about what had happened. However, David was so upset, he would not speak. The next day, we began the discussion. David was still upset. He asked, “If I can’t ride a bike, what am I going to do? I’m going to die somehow, just because I’m black.”

Then he said to me and Christine, “Why do you guys work in The Salvation Army if these things happen?” I said, “Well, these things happen around the world.”

Then David brought up something that had occurred at an officers’ family life retreat seven months ago. Standing in line with another officer’s child, David had jokingly said to the young man, “Ladies first!” The Caucasian youth, apparently offended by the remark, responded by insisting that David go first, but in doing so, called him the “N” word. After sharing this story, David asked me, “So, this is our church?”

I said, “It’s not just the church.” Then he asked, “How can you say that? Is it absolutely true?”

As a light–skinned kid in a predominately black school, he was already familiar with being treated differently because of his looks. Now in his current predominately white school, he is again a minority.

Deeper things are happening among officers in The Salvation Army and in our communities regarding color, gender, and race. Those things relate to us particularly when they happen within our Army community.

I am extremely angry at what has happened in our country. I know for a fact there are things happening within our church. They cannot be tolerated anymore. We need to be aggressive in stating the facts about things that need to change and admit that there have been failures; there have been difficulties. It’s just true; it’s fact.

We can be better; we can do better. But we have to acknowledge that a 14­–year–old is asking why this is happening in his church. He sees more than an individual saying hurtful things to him at an officer’s retreat. “So, this is my life? He asks. “This is what’s going to happen to me?”

After the encounter with the policeman, my daughter was nervous all night. Her concern was that the police officer would step on her brother’s neck and kill him as the policeman killed George Floyd.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

We’ve got some serious issues to deal with. I don’t agree with people who are vandalizing stores, although I understand why they are angry. But we’ve got to be more vocal and aggressive. We can’t continue to live like this any longer.

by Major Brian Glasco

“I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

—Isaiah 41:9b–10

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