Let's Walk Together

Jun 3, 2020

A note from our Divisional Commander, Major Mike Dickinson:

There is so much hurt and unrest in the world right now, rightfully so. My heart aches from the injustice our brothers and sisters have encountered for years.

In the past week, I’ve really tried to reflect on my own life and what I can do to help. Since watching the videos of George Floyd’s disturbing death, I’ve reached out to my Black friends, purchased recommended reading to educate myself, and reached out to an inspiring local Black leader, who has agreed to meet with me.

As I was doing my devotions on Tuesday morning, I was inspired to reach out to some of our Black staff and learn from them. Listen to them. In one meeting, I drove to The Salvation Army Denver Red Shield Corps Community Center and sat down with their four Directors, three of whom are Black. I was pained by their first thoughts – “you’ve been silent.” We, The Salvation Army, did not quickly enough stand up for justice during this time.

This struck me. I was hurt by our own (my own) silence. In my introspection, I have been trying to form the right words to say in the right way. I now realize that saying anything is a start.

Please know, The Salvation Army is sorrowful and angry by what happened to George Floyd last week. The nature of his death is shocking and horrific. The Salvation Army believes that God’s love is all-encompassing and it urges us to reject racism and discrimination in all of its forms.

The next thoughts from our Red Shield leaders were those of gratitude for reaching out and taking the time to speak with them. I was humbled, as this felt so small. I am compelled to do more.

I have been deeply moved in the last week and through these experiences and conversations. As I consider what else I can do, I encourage you to do the same. To reach out to your friends and colleagues as I have and learn from them. Hear their stories, build deeper relationships, and live authentically with them.

Friends, we need to commit to fighting injustice wherever it exists and speak up whenever we encounter it.

I invite you to join me tonight for a moment of silence for George Floyd and other lives lost and affected. At 6pm MT this evening, on your own or with your family, please take 8 minutes and 46 seconds to silently reflect and pray. This time represents the amount of time George Floyd was held under the knee of a police officer before he died.

I’ve asked my friends at The Salvation Army Denver Red Shield to help me develop next steps. I want their input on how we can better serve our community. As we move forward, please do what you can to help. Post, share, safely protest, educate yourself and have tough conversations. It will take all of us together to help create change for the future.

I’ll close with one final note. As I was reading an unrelated book last night, this quote resonated with me: “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase,” by Martin Luther King Jr. I know for many it may be difficult to know where to start, but the first step is often the most important.

Let’s walk together.

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