I've seen and heard bits of it, and to be honest, I'm glad I didn't go. I wanted something more contemplative. I wanted candles and spirituals. I wanted psalms and prayers.
So when a group from my church organized a group to go to a prayer vigil, I joined up. We headed over to the city center at Pembroke Pines, where the local governing happens.
There was a strong police presence, and I heard one of the officers say, "We've just done a sweep. We're clear."
The above picture gives you a sense of the type of gathering it was: no candles, no spirituals. We very properly had 3 religious leaders give a prayer: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim, and I couldn't help but notice that we didn't have a female prayer presence. Then each member of the City Commission spoke, along with a school board member. They said very similar things, about how horrible it all was.
When it was over, we decided to head to a vigil at the Pembroke Pines Elementary School. The principal of the school had a daughter who was killed at the high school; yesterday would have been her birthday. This vigil was more what I was hoping for, even though it was too windy to light our candles. Instead, we held up cell phones:
I was struck by all the children who attended. I'm sure the older ones had a sense of why we were there. I wonder what the littlest ones will remember.
I am feeling more certain that we are at a hinge point, the way that the Civil Rights Movement changed our politics. This generation of students will make a change, even if the current crop of politicians can't seem to find their way. This kind of event will radicalize many of them, and I predict that our culture will change in ways we can't foresee right now.
Here's a black and white photo that my pastor took. It gives a sense of the size of the group gathered at the tiny elementary school. It gives a sense of how we're hovering at this hinge of history:
|Photo by Keith Spencer|