Respect.

I won’t get too much into exactly what I think about all the current events going on in the United States. I might even go into a whole other post about my opinions on the police. Or I might not. But I will say this: treat everyone with respect. You do not have to agree with what someone else believes or stands for, but you do have to treat everyone with respect. Respect their beliefs and respect their differences. Respect their actions, and respect their cultures. Giving someone your respect is saying “I honor you and your rights as a human being, and although I might not agree with you, I believe you matter and your thoughts matter”.

I know that I do not and will not ever fully understand the injustices people face in this country. And I know that a lost, broken, burnt-down store is worth far less than the loss of a human life. I know that the percentage of people peacefully protesting is far greater than those that are carrying out angry riots. I am glad that so many people are using their voices to peacefully advocate for long-needed change.

But when anger turns people towards destruction of property, or even destruction of lives, this is when it has gone too far. The respect has been lost. Even if the respect towards the rioting party had been lost long ago, reciprocating with disrespect is not the answer. Anger is an emotion okay to feel . And it is okay to feel outraged at the events going on. But destructive anger is only that- destructive. It gets across the point that you are angry, yes, but it also shows that you can be violent and lack self-control. Peaceful protest is allowed in America, and it should be encouraged. Protest is respectful. There is absolutely nothing wrong with protesting for what you believe is right. It is choosing to take the higher ground against people that have done wrong, horrible, dirty, unforgivable things against you. It shows maturity that in such trying cases, you are able to carry yourself in a presentable manner that conveys how you feel but does not tear down others in the process. Even though you or people you know or love or stand for have been torn down. However, when protests turn to violent riots filled with a blind rage, this is not the answer.

Yes, I believe that there needs to be change and that racism and acts of violence towards minorities have carried on for far too long in this country. But I also believe that violence is not the answer to said violence.

I know there is racism and what has happened to countless black people is unacceptable and it should be stopped. Nobody should be treated that way, even the worst of criminals. That is why we have a justice system in this country. Innocent until proven guilty, and thus treated innocent until proven guilty. Not stepped on or beat or shot at or killed before their voice gets a chance to be heard. There is lots of work to be done in this country. There is lots of room to grow.

Do unto others what you want done upon yourself, and that goes to both sides. Treat human lives as they should be treated- like HUMAN lives and souls and hearts that love and care. As a nurse and as a Christian, it is my calling to accept others as they are, respect them, and treat them as I would treat my own family. I do not believe it is my calling to say everyone’s beliefs and ways of life are okay, but it is my job and my goal to accept everyone for who they are and to never treat somebody different for any reason. I strive to treat all my patients with the same level of compassion and care. I strive to give the same help and humility to a patient who is a detained illegal immigrant as I would a white male CEO of a major corporation. I strive to find the time to explain what I am doing and why to both the illiterate patients who are afraid to ask questions, and to those who are health care professionals themselves.

I know I have my own implicit biases and I am working to identify and change these. We all are different, and that is wonderful. But using those differences to fuel hatred and violence is not okay. Bottom line, be respectful.

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