Yesterday I read an article highlighting items that were found among the ruble, after the towers in New York City fell many years ago, and the stories of the people who owned these items before they lost their lives that September day.
I cried. Seeing old pictures of smiling faces ready to take on the world paired with a picture of bloody heels or an airline pin they wore as their lives were stolen, broke my heart. What happened that day was tragic, a complete atrocity without justification.
And what happened after that day, our response as a nation, was even more so.
Martin Luther King Jr – a man we like to say our nation adores while often rejecting his ways of anti-oppression – once said, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, aging deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
On September 11th, thousands lost their lives to an act of pure evil, and after, hundreds of thousands more were murdered because our reaction as country was to meet evil with evil, multiplying hate to a whole new level.
This Christian nation’s response was to ignore Rev. Dr. King’s wise words and instead of allowing love to drive out hate, we opted to bomb civilians in countries that had nothing to do with the attack on the US in the first place, searching for weapons of mass destruction that never existed, killing innocent, destroying entire nations, demonizing an entire people group, and only amplifying the historically racist nature of this country.
Years ago, #afterseptember11 started trending on Twitter highlighting stories of how the magnification of hate changed lives in America forever.
“#afterseptember11 i grew up without a mom because someone with a gun decided that she needed to answer for it with her life”
“#afterseptember11 my parents genuinely asked my brother if he wanted to change his name bc it’s Osama. He was 9”
“#afterseptember11 on sep 13, my dad stopped wearing a turban, cut his hair, & shaved his beard bc he was assaulted at work by a white man”
And again, I find my heart breaking.
When I look around at this nation today, I can’t help but see the words of Martin Luther King Jr. loudly ringing true.
The multiplication of hate that screams so loudly today as children seeking a better life die in U.S. cages, people of color are routinely murdered by police without repercussion, Nazis proudly walk our streets, and white domestic terrorism threatens to shoot our children at school daily all while we demonize millions and millions of innocent people.
I will never forget what happened after September 11th, but I will also never forget what MLK said. Hate cannot drive out hate but love still can. We just have to choose it. If given the chance, light will always drive out darkness and love can always win if we let it.