Recent news, as so often is the case, has brought images and descriptions of young black men shot by police officers. The narrative is sickeningly familiar: a young person dies; protests take place; authorities promise a full and fair investigation and, if warranted, consequences for the officers involved; journalists and community leaders remind us of the long series of these deaths; voices call for mutual respect and genuine collaboration between minority communities and law enforcement agencies, and insist on reform of the justice system.
Like many cities, Asheville, North Carolina, has a “Before I Die . . .” wall—a large chalkboard with multiple spaces for people to write some of their hopes for the future. Since the wall is on the path I take for most of my downtown walks, I read them several days each week. I’ve laughed and wept, said “me too” or “not me,” and wondered how many of the hopes chalked on that wall will be realized.