A Lesson in Compassion

Za'layia's funeral is today.

I've been following this story closely these past few weeks with a heavy heart.  A few weeks ago, Za'layia was jumping rope with a police officer and she asked the officer to keep her safe. And the officer couldn't. Her family couldn't. It all happened so quickly.

I can only imagine what Destiny, Za'layia's mama, is feeling today. But I do know this: I know that she loves that little girl. I know that she wanted to protect her from being hurt. 

Destiny made a statement to the press and addressed the person responsible for her daughter's death, saying "I just want whoever did this to my baby to know I don't hate you for what you did. I just need you to turn yourself in. I need justice for my baby."  

In that moment, she showed a capacity for reconciliation and compassion that simply astounded me. In the midst of her own grief, she spoke to that person without a trace of rage or contempt. I don't know if I'd have enough compassion in my heart to even speak the name of the person who took my daughter away. But Destiny--you did. Your compassion moved me deeply.

Destiny, I am sorry for the loss of your baby. She is a beautiful, precious child. We in Milwaukee hold the story of Za'layia in careful hands. We hope the person responsible steps forward so there can be justice for you & your child. We hope that grief will not spill over into violence, fear, or indifference but into greater reconciliation with each other. I hope to be a person with an extraordinary capacity for compassion toward others--a person like you. I learned that from you this week, Destiny. 

And I am deeply sorry for the price paid for this lesson. 




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