Kudos to Mount Calvary Seventh Day Adventist church and its leadership for organizing and hosting a community forum to allow for dialogue between the community and law enforcement members. I’d like to thank Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office members, Captain Wayne Bunton and Major Willie Parker Jr, and attorney Michael Maddux for taking time during the weekend to participate. Community activist Michelle Williams and Shelly Gainous Jr. did a great job of moderating and the community appreciates your involvement and work.
I have to make special mention of the starfish story. Mark Ober recently was introduced to this story by Hillsborough Judge Ralph Stoddard. A couple of months ago Ober asked me whether I knew about the starfish story and I responded that I was well acquainted with it but I still let him tell me the story again, it’s a good one. Some years ago I was feeling somewhat weary and worn and as I slept I had a dream with a starfish. I was therefore very intrigued and started to research starfish. I learned that some species have the ability to regenerate lost arms and limbs. I was encouraged. It was then that I stumbled upon the “but I saved this one” starfish story. Now I collect all things starfish, art, jewelry, home décor, shirts, towels, etc. During the forum Ober was critically confronted by a community activist. There was a raw and honest exchange. A couple of attendees stormed off angrily. After the forum, some who witnessed the exchange, were later amazed at how Ober and this community activist engaged in a peaceful and humble conversation about working together in the future to solve community issues.
We are not going to agree on everything. We should work on those issues that we do agree on to find and implement solutions. Our world is not perfect and there will always be work to be done in fighting for social justice and seeking to regenerate severed communities. None of us can save the world but maybe we can make a difference in one life. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 God Bless our communities and law enforcement members. May He keep us all safe and always remind us to love and serve one another. “O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8