We pause to try and catch our breath while our country and the world have continually been bombarded by tragedy, anger and grief. We are deeply disturbed by the recent killing of police officers and individuals and send our condolences to their families and friends. These are difficult times. As we work to find ways to bridge painful divides amongst us, we hold on to our belief in the power of nonviolence leading the way to needed reconciliation and justice in our country.

At a memorial service in Dallas last week, President Obama said, “The pain we feel may not soon pass, but my faith tells me that they (the police officers) did not die in vain. I believe our sorrow can make us a better country. I believe our righteous anger can be transformed into more justice and more peace. Weeping may endure for a night but I’m convinced joy comes in the morning.”

At the same service, former President G.W. Bush expressed, “At our best, we practice empathy, imagining ourselves in the lives and circumstances of others. This is the bridge across our nation’s deepest divisions. And it is not merely a matter of tolerance, but of learning from the struggles and stories of our fellow citizens, and finding our better selves in the process.”

At OC Human Relations, we are firmly committed to promoting the use of dialogue and restorative community practices to bring people together to better learn from each other’s struggles and stories. There is a beauty and promise when working together, side by side to resolve conflict and build a more peaceful, respectful community. We invite you to join with us in a #hatefreeoc.