By Sylvia Melena, M.A.
On Tuesday, September 28th, the media began reporting the fatal shooting of an African American man by the El Cajon Police Department, and the reports have continued to date. Demonstrators gathered in protest, marching from the El Cajon police station to where the shooting occurred. I also heard eye witness reports that the demonstration was at one time escalating.
This post is not about the guilt or innocence of the police department; our legal system will decide that. But rather, this post is a reflection on the type of leadership that liberates nations in times of social injustice.
Tranformational leadership has been the catalyst of far-reaching, radical changes in terms of social justice. It has turned nations from slavery to freedom, from segregation to desegregation, and from labor exploitation to better wages and living conditions.
When I think about this type of transformational leadership, I am reminded of men like William Wilberforce, a white politician; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a black Baptist minister; and Cesar Chavez, a Mexican farm worker. These were men of strong character who, with peace and not violence, radically led the transformation of nations so that our children could live a life of freedom, justice, and equality.
These were men of different races, skin colors, and walks of life, yet these differences did not matter. What mattered was that they were men of faith, courage, and conviction that galvanized nations to make the impossible happen. Their battle cry was one of love for humanity, which against all odds shook the foundations of social injustice until the strongholds came down.
So I ask, “Will violence bring about justice?”
Let peace reign in our land!