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The Violence Continues
June 4, 2019
The latest killings of twelve people in Virginia Beach continues the unfortunate saga of violence that now characterizes life in the United States. The muted responses to this outrageous attack on innocent people and the total lack of justice on the part of the Federal Government is itself an act of violence.
The limited outcry and lack of serious governmental response point to two possible factors. One, we have accommodated ourselves to thinking that violence is outrageous when it occurs in a Sanctuary space. But, ask anyone who ever survived violence in a sanctuary, and they will remind you that everywhere is sacred space when it comes to the dignity of persons and their right to live. Second, we are becoming numb to the culture of violence around us. The “numbness” is a collective defense mechanism by which a traumatized community begins to lose its ability to experience and wholeheartedly respond to the pain and anguish. At this point, something must be done.
The Interfaith Peace Project takes this unfortunate moment in our history to pledge anew to work for that justice that will mercifully address the issues of violence in community, mind, and heart. We will do everything in our power not to forget those victimized and slaughtered by senseless acts of violence. We will continue to stand against the violence of words that now litters the Halls of Government and endangers the well-being of so many powerless persons. We will continue to foster programs by which concerned peoples can address the issues of the day in ways constructive and transformative. We will memorialize the victims of violence by raising the consciousness of anyone who visits our Centers to stand in solidarity and respect with those who are terrorized by abuse, violence, and hatred.
We sympathize with the citizens of Virginia Beach and are grateful for their show of solidarity in this tragic moment of their history. We are inspired by their example and courage. They join a community of neighborhoods, cities, villages, and regions throughout the Nation who have found strength and purpose in the midst of tragedy and sorrow. These communities of our neighbors remind us not to forget and provide the antidote for any numbness that might sedate our commitment to do what is right. They remind us in their willingness to stand up when their loved ones and neighbors are injured or murdered that everywhere is Holy Ground and everyone is precious.
We call to mind the comforting and challenging words of the Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dwyer who so lovingly declared in this moment of brokenness:
“There is one thing that is most evident that has come about: We in Virginia Beach are a city of heroes. We have heroes with our military. We have many members of our public that help and save lives. But most of all, let me commend the officers, the people that ran into a building with an active shooter shooting .45-caliber bullets and saved many people without doubt, question or reservation.”
Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.,
with the Board of Directors
The Interfaith Peace Project
You are not obligated to complete the work,
but neither are you free to abandon it.