One of my favorite songs is “Bleed the Same” by Mandisa, Kirk Franklin and TobyMac. One of the lines, “We’re more beautiful when we come together” was never more true to me than last Saturday when I not only covered the Unity Walk, but walked along with everyone.
It was hot even at 9 a.m., but it was a beautiful and awesome time. To talk and shake hands and offer smiles to everyone was a blessing to me. I made a friend, little 5-year-old Josiah Magee, who rode on his scooter part of the way. He and I enjoyed talks about sno-balls waiting for us at the other end of the walk. He wanted rainbow, and I said that sounded great.
Walking was young and old, black and white, law enforcement officers and the mayor, side by side, each with smiles. The only complaint that day was the heat, but we were glad it was sunny and not raining.
Once everyone arrived at Friendship Park there was a short program. Listening to Ministers Cunningham and Johnson, Mayor Justin McKenzie and Chief Michael Kelly was according to this Church of God Pentecostal person, like having church. I found myself in agreement and even saying “amen” a few times.
There was no finger pointing, no one was saying it’s this person’s fault or that race’s fault. It was a matter of saying enough is enough of the foolishness. It is time to put differences aside and together become one community, one family. I was very proud that two of my children were there to hear this for that is how I want them to feel as well.
I wonder now what the next step will be. Was it for this one emotional moment we all were one or have we really decided to put the past, hatred and prejudices aside? Can that moment be more than a moment and become a movement?
Can Mississippi remove the shame of its misdeeds and instead begin the movement of uniting one another all together? Can that movement actually start right here in Marion County, Miss.?
I say the answer is yes. We can make that change. I say yes we can let go of the past, hatred and prejudices. I say yes I have friends of all colors and cherish each one immensely and will gladly stand by their side when needed. Yes to handshakes and hugs regardless of color, sweat, clean or dirty.
A couple years ago I attending a special service at a Church of God in Christ in Foxworth. I’ll admit I was the only white person in the church but it did not disturb me because my focus wasn’t on the color of the people it was on the God they worshipped, the same God I worship.
I later learned the pastor of the church, Pastor Douglas Lowe, said it made his day that I came and I didn’t let anything deter me from what I was there to do, worship God.
I walked out of that service making some dear friends whom I love dearly. That wasn’t my only time visiting that church and when Pastor Lowe departed this life, I was one of them crying over the loss of someone who became a dear friend.
Sharing this story is not to bring any special attention to me but to say this; I walked into that church with the expectation of opening my heart to the people around me even though I didn’t know them, and to worship God. As the many shared at the Unity Walk if we put our focus on where it needs to be, to open our hearts, there can be unity.
I am a first responder. I have been to accidents involving whites and blacks and helped tend the wounds. As such I can honestly say, we really do bleed the same.
Susan Amundson is the managing editor of The Columbian-Progress. She may be reached at (601) 736-2611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.