There Was a Riot…Then Something Beautiful
We have seen the images from the protest that happened on Saturday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that later turned into a riot. Did you see the beauty that happened on Sunday?
I was glued to the TV late Saturday night. A friend texted me to ask if I was ok and at the time I didn't know what they were talking about to I turned on the TV and that's when I saw people smashing windows and starting fires in Grand Rapids.
Since returning to Michigan over 2 years ago, I spend most of my time in the area of Rosa Parks Circle because the building not far from there is where I work. My office over looks the park.
I eat at the restaurants on Monroe, Monroe Center and Ottawa to name a few and sadly as I watched on TV people were smashing those very windows of our neighbors businesses.
On Pearl Street there were multiple cars that were set on fire, trash cans on fire around Rosa Parks Circle and other dumpsters on fire in the surrounding areas and it was pure chaos.
I watched this unfold until about 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning and just felt sick to my stomach on what happened to our city.
People have a right to protest and they should exercise that right when they feel strongly about something but when some of the protesters decide to break into businesses, loot and destroy that is when it crosses the line with me.
After seeing this, I could only sleep a couple hours before coming in to do my weekend radio show and I didn't even know what to say but when I pulled into the downtown area where the bulk of the destruction happened, I saw something that truly surprised me and made me feel good again, it was the citizens of Grand Rapids.
People arrived at day break downtown with their own brooms, garbage bags and cans, shovels and buckets to help clean up their city. I have never personally seen such an amazing display of unity and humanity after a night of just the opposite.
Mothers and fathers had their kids and all were sweeping up the glass, the potted plants and helping board up windows. I looked at the window of our studio in awe of people of all races putting our city back together just hours after a few had done their best to try and destroy our beautiful city.
I was so touched by the beauty of the citizens of Grand Rapids I probably called a dozen people on the way home to tell them what I saw. It truly was a thing of beauty. I just couldn't believe that just hours before that people were rioting on these very same streets, then hours later citizens of Grand Rapids showed up to help their city become of thing of beauty once again.
Yes there are still battle wounds on our local businesses and many buildings look like they're preparing for a hurricane, but the spirit of this great city, Grand Rapids, never left and now may be even stronger than ever.