Valarie Kaur: Forgiveness

I am not there yet, but if we could get by without hate, we could move into a better world.

Vox Populi

Forgiveness is not forgetting: Forgiveness is freedom from hate. Two

days after nine black people were massacred by a white supremacist in

a historic black church in Charleston in June 2015, their family members

showed up at his bond hearing, looked into his eyes, and said, “I forgive

you.” I felt sick to my stomach. This man did not deserve their

forgiveness. I worried that saying these words too quickly cut short our

right to express our divine rage, publicly and internally. Yet these family

members chose to forgive as a declaration of their own autonomy, as if

to say no matter what you do to us, we will not allow you to make us

hate you. I thought about my own community’s choice to pray for the

gunman after the mass shooting of Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Forgiveness was not a substitute for justice; it had energized us…

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