As protests continue to expand to more cities and communities around the US, please consider the following:

**It is understandable to be angry when there is injustice and apparent abuse of power.

**Protests serve as a valid form of expression in a democracy for “the people” to express their views and draw attention to important matters that require resolution.

**Violence and looting do not serve justice, and do not serve democracy.  They actually prevent protestors from achieving their goals.

Now, with that being said, if such activity works against our goals, then please think about what the violence and looting MAY be attempting to accomplish:

**A distraction during a Presidential election year.

**A distraction from a mismanaged pandemic which has resulted in over 100,000 American deaths.

**An ability for a President with authoritarian and dictatorial tendencies to attempt to steal powers and create a military or police state.

**A means with which to stoke racist sentiment and to divide white, black and brown communities from coming together.

The violence and looting, which are apparently springing up spontaneously all over, are giving the country an impression that all of the protests are violent, and that the only response to masses of people coming together, is a violent response from authorities.  However, the vast majority of protestors are peaceful. There has been clear evidence of people trying to stop the violence, tying to shield the police, trying to protect businesses or clean up after acts of destruction, and so many other examples.  There have also been numerous images of police shooting gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protestors and the media.  This is not normal, and this should not be occurring in a free society.  During these very heart-wrenching moments, we need to be cautious about assuming what is occurring, and who it is serving, and whether there may be an agenda in progress. 

Please be careful about being sucked into the negativity of the moment.  It is important we stay calm and centered and empathetic to the injustice of people of color being killed by aggressive police who are not appropriately held accountable for their actions.  We must continue to advocate for justice, and we must not assume that the violence and looting are the outcome of a grieving nation, but rather, the result of individuals and groups fulfilling an agenda of hate and violence – whether for themselves, or for some larger purpose. 

This is a critical year.  We cannot take our eye off the goal of caring for one another, working together to re-build a shattered country, insisting on the development of socially-just communities, and most importantly this year, removing a President who has spent his entire Presidency stoking violence and inflicting harm on others here and around the world, and who may well be engaged in an orchestrated event with the purpose of attempting to steal the next election.  Can I prove this?  No.  But my intuition is telling me that something is very, very wrong,  and we need to be careful about interpreting what we are seeing, and who’s purpose it is serving.