An Open Letter To God About The Violence In Our Nation

Priscilla Westra
Priscilla Westra

Dear God,

I am afraid. I don’t want to be afraid, because I know that you have not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind — but still I am afraid.

I have a brother who’s almost sixteen. A fiercely independent, quiet, keeps to himself if he can keep it that way, ALMOST sixteen-year-old. My brother is loved and fed, which is more than some others can say. He has clean clothes on his back, a roof to sleep under at night, and I know that when he closes his eyes and his eyelashes flutter him off into twilight sleep that he is not afraid. But still I am afraid.

My brother plays video games, a harmless habit that I too indulge in, spending hours on end laughing with his friends over wireless connections as the sounds of gunfire claps, and raps, and bangs from his television – but he is not afraid. Still, I am afraid.

My brother goes outside to hang out with his friends, something normal, right? Something an ALMOST sixteen-year-old boy should be able to do, right? He walks down the street, head high as cotton, not a doubt in his mind that he won’t make it back home. He is not afraid, but still I am afraid.
Still, I am afraid, because my brother of almost sixteen possesses a little more melanin in his body that might make him seem JUST a little more dangerous or JUST a little more likely to commit a crime — this is why I am afraid.

Still, I am afraid, that because my brother is quiet and keeps to himself, that he doesn’t know what is happening just outside the walls that hold his bed – the place where he rests his head and falls asleep. What if he is questioned and deemed a little too quiet, a little too suspicious? This is why I am afraid.

Still, I am afraid, that my brother will be shot, real life shot, multiple shots fired shot, for no reason at all, and because this is not a video game, my brother of almost sixteen will not be able to re-spawn back into place into my life. No, my brother will be gone. This is why I am afraid.

Dear God, I am afraid.


Stop rationalizing the deaths of fathers, sons, husbands, friends, uncles, brothers, teenagers, teachers, CD slingers, men or women just because it fits a particular agenda. There are undoubtable inconsistencies within the justice system, and I vow now that my little brother will not be the next hashtag.

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