Feeling helpless about the cycle of division and destruction?

Here's what YOU can do.

Feeling helpless about division and destruction? Here's what you can do.

Last night right before I went to bed, I learned about the shooting deaths of 3 more police officers – this time in Baton Rouge. It is heart-breaking and tempting to feel helpless, as angry people continue to destroy lives and rock our world with bombings, shootings, and even trucks.

This time felt even more personal, as I used to live in Baton Rouge and drove and worked where the shooting took place.  And in the time I was there, I fell deeply in love with the people, the city and the state of Louisiana.

I woke early this morning and immediately checked the news for updates and prayed.

A short time later, I was reminded that exactly three years ago today I posted an article about pain and anger as I tried to process the Trevon Martin case.

  • Three more years of conflict.
  • Three more years of finger pointing and blaming.

Clearly – What we’re doing isn’t working, as the conflicts are becoming more frequent and more violent.

A few minutes later this image from Mark Fidelman showed up in my Facebook feed:Attack and grief cycle from Mark Feldman

If you are tired of the cycle of shock, grief, pain, anger, blaming and feeling helpless…  Here are a few ideas about how you can make a difference with what you have, right where you are:

  1. Acknowledge that the truth is not found in the extreme views that sell news, it is found somewhere between those views.

This is from Slain Police Officer, Montrell Jackson’s Facebook Page days before he was killed, “I’m tired physically and emotionally. Disappointed in some family, friends and officers … but hey what’s in your heart is in your heart. I still love you all because hate takes too much energy but I definitely won’t be looking at you the same. Thank you to everyone that has reached out to me or my wife it was needed and much appreciated,” Jackson wrote.

“I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat. I’ve experienced so much in my short life and these last 3 days have tested me to the core… These are trying times. Please don’t let hate infect your heart,” he continued.

This WSJ article highlights the stories of three black men and emphasizes that middle ground beautifully.

  1. Do something to learn and serve at a higher level:

    • Watch this TEDx Talk by Police Officer Chip Huth and learn with his team and celebrate the impact they are having on their city.
    • Then purchase a copy of The Anatomy of Peace Book that was written by the group of people that provided the training to the police officers in the video.
    • Read it.
    • Share it.
    • Have a discussion about it.
    • Host and/or attend workshops about racial healing, peacemaking, how to have productive dialogs etc.…

*Our international housing compound has followed all of the suggestions in #2.  My neighbors are from a variety of different nations including:  Palestine, Jordan, Jamaica, Nigeria, South Africa, Australia, France, Pakistan, Germany, India, The Netherlands, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Sudan, China, Korea, Tunisia, America and more.  We also represent a wide variety of faith and non-faith backgrounds.  In spite of our differences we have all experienced powerful learnings and and growth and we will continue to invest our time in these types of activities.  

  1. Look for what is working and share it.

Be intentional about sharing the good news that models, teaches, inspires, and encourages; more than you share the sensational stuff that increases  division.

This is what happened in Wichita, Kansas last night at a First Steps BBQ between Police Officers and The Community instead of the Black Lives Matter Protest that was originally scheduled.  

  1. Pray.  Don’t just say you’ll do it. Do it.

If you aren’t convinced that prayer works – check out this movie.  It was created by people who have first-hand experience with the power of prayer.  It was so popular that it became a hit movie last summer.

We don’t have to feel helpless.  We were given brains and hearts to use them.

Please share:  How are you making a difference?  Is there anything you would add to this list?


President, Giana Consulting

Chery Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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6 thoughts on “Feeling helpless about the cycle of division and destruction?

  1. Thanks for posting this and especially the link to the Tedx talk by Chip Huth. I used to work with police in my days of doing security and I have friends who are police officers, so my support and concern for them is unquestioned. That said, what I heard in Chips talk kind of read my mind as I have been lately pondering the question of how police might be better trained to help keep some of these situations from going so wrong. Sometimes I know that’s not going to be possible and that you have to do what you have to do to protect yourself and others but I certainly think there is room to make a positive difference in many cases.

    • Mike, Thank you again for taking the time to watch the video. It is the perfect example of how change needs to begin within the only person we control… Ourselves. Raw hatred and disrespect of someone because of their color or their uniform is what started this cycle, fear of what might happen is what is fueling this cycle. We must break that cycle with a vision of what could be and with specific ideas of how each one of us can make a difference.

  2. This is such a moving post, Chery and I commend you for sharing your heart so openly with us.

    It is so upsetting to keep hearing about the tragedies with people and the police. I have no perfect answer but you are right to encourage connections with different backgrounds. I think we each need to be examples in our communities and promote dialogue with our many different groups we live with.

    Thanks Chery!

    • Thank you Terri! Between my expat life and knowing people from so many countries in crisis, while dealing with cultural challenges in our compound, while watching the news at home – I never seem to stop hearing or seeing the need for all of us to rise up and be a part of the solution. Thank you for being willing to be a part of the solution.

  3. Unfortunately, I think the Black Lives Matter movement has become divisive rather than constructive. All Lives Matter is perhaps more appropriate because there are people from all ethnic backgrounds who are feeling marginalized…

    Great article Chery…thanks so much for sharing!

    • I agree with you LaRae.

      I believe it started from a place of pain and not feeling heard. (Something we need to tune into.) But the direction it has taken seems to be fueling victim thinking and division instead of encouraging people to be a part of the solution.

      As I told someone else, the inability to see others as human simply because of their color or their uniform is what started this cycle, now mob thinking and the fear of what could happen is fueling this cycle. We must break that cycle with a vision of what could be and with specific ideas of how each one of us can help to make that happen.