To America

Let the dialogue be raised, that so horrendous a crime may have had some purpose other than the hellish intent of its alleged perpetrator. Let it further be said that if the families of those killed at AME Church in Charlston, SC can say they have forgiven the murderer, then let us learn from their good example that hate and violence have no place in our society.  Even hate of or violence toward the murderer himself. The cry for the death penalty, in respect for those who died and what they stood for, should cease and be dismissed as an appropriate response to murder.

Let the dialogue continue until the history of Africans being ripped from the breast of Mama Africa and forcibly brought to strange lands, among them, this one, be taught in our schools. That the stories of the descendants of slaves who still struggle today for equality be told. That the literature and science and brilliance of the African-American people, the progeny of people who were unjustly enslaved, be shared proudly as the history of this country…not some sidebar or footnote.

These are the things I hope to see before I leave this world. These are the things I hope to see yesterday. Let’s get on with it. There should be no anguish about race. There should be pride. For there is only one race and that is the human race and we must embrace all the streams that contribute to our bloodlines. Let us honor those who died, who knew love and forgiveness.

From a woman who does not pray, this is my prayer. In peace. Selah.

Joanie Hieger Fritz Zosike is an actor, director, singer and writer who splits her time living on the LES in Manhattan and in the boonies in Manchester, NJ. Her book of poetry An Alphabet of Love is coming out in 2015 from Barncott Press (London). Read other articles by Joanie.