Forgiveness As a Tool in Healing And Combatting Social Injustice

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In beginning this research, I was searching for an answer to an ongoing question that plagues this country. In previous research I’ve conducted, I have examined many issues regarding racial injustices in America and how they have plagued specific groups of people. From the school- to-prison pipeline to the ineffective War on Drugs that have continued the in the state sanctioned terrorism on African Americans and people of color in the United States.

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After reading countless journals and analyzing many texts that delve into the hate policing placed against minorities, I grew frustrated. In not wanting to negate history and ignore its effects, I am left asking, how do we move forward?

The idea of forgiveness can be used as a key piece in building peaceful societies as well as peaceful individuals. It works to establish a society and a culture of people who are willing to recognize wrongdoing for what they are and choose to not allow the hurt to multiply. By working forgiveness into the core of a society, we can empower individuals to examine their own hurt, work through it and eventually work towards social harmony. Forgiveness will be one of those human competences which although imperfect, may help us to build more peaceful societies, because in the same way that we have learnt to hurt each other, we can learn to forgive each other too (Robles). In can be a challenging phenomenon to overcome, or even ask of for individuals with years of targeted hurt. However, when are continuing in the conversation of ‘how do we move forward’, it is a key component in ending repetitive cycles of vengeance and fear.

In 2015, Dylan Roof, inferably unaware of the value and sanctity of human life walked into a South Carolina church to manifest the evil festered in his heart. He sat in service, an odd spectacle; an unknown white man in an all-black church. He gained their trust and arguably their love. In keeping with his preconceived plan, he aimed his gun at his first target, an unexpecting African American. He aimed his gun at the next and then the next, until nine members of the Emmanuel A.M.E Church were shot and killed. It was a horrific memory, a tragic event that will soon fill American history books around the nation. Innocent blood was shed for no other reason than to infiltrate his poisonous rationale that some life is not valuable. Roof’s heinous acts were cruel and awful and immoral, undeniably so. But were his actions forgivable?

A few weeks after the horrendous act, Nadine Collier, daughter of Ethel Lance, who was killed by Roof spoke and offered hope to not only her enemy, but the world. She said, I forgive you.

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