Peace, Because You’re My Neighbor

Charleston seems so far away from central PA. We’re so isolated here in our beautiful little town, we get to feel devastated but disconnected. We get to feel safe and if we’re careful, not the least bit uncomfortable, just sad.

But then in a tiny little church, during Sunday morning’s Joys and Concerns, a couple tells us that Cynthia Hurd, librarian, was their local librarian when they lived there.

And there she is no longer just a Martyr but now, a Neighbor.

I need to know her name. I need to learn about her. (I’ve already messed this up because I had her name as Cheryl, I’m not sure where I picked that up. It grieves me that I didn’t recheck this. Her name is such an important part of her legacy. We want to learn it, hold it in our mouths, caress it. She was our neighbor. So were they all.)

She was 54, a life long member of the AME church where she was killed. Her brother said, “she was looking toward retirement after 31 years of library work.” The library issued a statement remembering Hurd as “a tireless servant of the community who spent her life helping residents, making sure they had every opportunity for an education and personal growth.” Her husband is a merchant marine and was serving somewhere in the Saudi Arabian sea and had to make that long journey home alone. Poor, poor man. That alone was horrible, but in these circumstances, even worse.

She was a woman. She was our neighbor. This happened to someone we now know because she was Black. The question is will we make sure this is the end?
Will we begin to dismantle racism? Will we do something about gun control?
Peace is up to us. I’m not sure what makes justice happens, but we have the opportunity and the obligation to make a difference. Peace is in our hands. Will we honor that? Will we honor Cynthia Hurd with Peace?


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