After last week’s tragedy in Dallas, which left five police officers dead, Advocate editor Keri Mitchell gave us a look at how members of the Dallas City Council, including Lake Highlands’ representative Adam McGough, were handling the situation.
Yesterday, McGough and the rest of the council attended memorial service for the fallen officers, where inspiring speeches from Mayor Mike Rawlings, Police Chief David Brown, Former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama are likely to go down in history.
Obama called on Americans to join together, fight cynicism and insisted that “we are not as divided as we seem.” He spoke of officers who lost their lives, the injured civilian who thanks them and the challenges we still face.
He praised our city’s police department and government.
“When the bullets started flying, the men and women of the Dallas police, they did not flinch and they did not react recklessly. They showed incredible restraint. Helped in some cases by protesters, they evacuated the injured, isolated the shooter, saved more lives than we will ever know,” Obama said.
“In the aftermath of the shooting, we’ve seen Mayor Rawlings and Chief Brown, a white man and a black man with different backgrounds, working not just to restore order and support a shaken city, a shaken department, but working together to unify a city with strength and grace and wisdom.”
Listen to the full speech and others here.
McGough earlier this week wrote President Obama an open letter (this post has been edited to reflect that McGough’s letter was composed and published prior to Tuesday’s memorial service).
“We accept this challenge,” though we did not ask for it, McGough wrote.
He promised, “We will listen to each other on a personal level to help mend wounded relationships and make this city the shining light that it is.”
He echoes the President’s praise of our city leaders and calls on him to help “heal our country” and to “make the clear, direct, and public declaration that attacks on police officers are not the answer, and must be condemned.”
Below is the councilman’s entire letter.
Mr. President Obama,
We accept this challenge. We did not ask for it, and we are deeply hurting, but the city of Dallas is full of thoughtful, faithful and resilient people. We accept the challenge to help provide an example of how different, struggling people can ask for and give forgiveness. And we will listen to each other on a personal level to help mend wounded relationships and make this city the shining light that it is.
Dallas is strong. We struggle with the same divisions that we have across the country, but we have established a basic foundation of trust that can guide us to unity through understanding. We have community leaders who exemplify servant leadership and command the respect needed to hold our communities together.
We have work to do Mr. President, and we need a President to model the kind of leadership who “listens”. Standard political rhetoric is failing. Our culture is adopting the political back and forth of partisan positioning. We do not take the time nor put in the effort to genuinely listen to the struggles, to the wounds, and to the hurt that must be healed in order to reach a level of understanding that pushes back evil and connects people to each other.
We must change the definition of leaders and empower the strong thoughtful individuals seeking to listen and understand; not the extreme oppositions who are looking to score points. We want your help, we need your help, but we need to be taught how to listen, first.
Mr. President, we need your help to heal our country. Support our City, and support the families of our fallen officers. Please make the clear, direct, and public declaration that attacks on police officers are not the answer, and must be condemned. Represent all those who need a clear voice to address inequities of all kinds, but specifically as it relates to race. Help people understand each other and discourage violence of any sort. Empower police departments across this country to root out evil and praise sacrificial service. Our city and our country needs transformational leadership to bring people together.