As we all know, tensions are high in the United States these days. If you’re like me I not quite sure how to respond or engage. I feel like I freeze more often than not. That’s why I want to introduce you to a good friend of mine.
Sanchez Fair and I know each other for almost five years and his passion for God and people inspires me and those around us to step out of our comfort zones and engage life in all its complexity and beauty head on.
And that’s what he did. When Charlotte was set into a social frenzy because a police officer shot and killed a black man, Sanchez hit the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina to gain a perspective and offer some hope.
I asked him to share his experience. Here’s what he had to say about walking the streets. Read it with your eyes and hear it with your soul. Grace and Peace.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Sanchez Fair. I’m from Greenville, SC. I was born in a Christian home where both parents were Pastors. My family was split at an early age. My mother left my dad because of verbal and physical abuse, as well as alcohol and substance abuse. Both parents would re-marry. My mother to my step-father, who would become more of a father figure to me. I was one of eight kids (some being half and step siblings). Music has always been my passion. Both of my parents were musicians and they started me out playing music at church on Sunday from a very young age. I would grow up and travel the world playing music and it’s a blessing to call it my vocation. My interests and passions are religion, people, music, and creativity of all kinds. I believe the four are beautiful and important to everyday life.
Neither of us are native to Charlotte but we share a love for the city. With all the racial tension going on locally and nationally, what is your objective perspective of all that’s going on?
My objective perspective about what all is going on locally and nationally has everything to do with the four things that interest me. My passion for religion, people, music, and creativity aren’t a coincidence. I believe we are all bent towards the four subconsciously, without even knowing it, and they’re expressed in every facet of our lives.
My heart breaks for everything going on. Being African American in general right now is tough because there are so many mixed emotions going on. There’s hurt, there’s fear, there’s frustration, there’s uncertainty on how to move forward, and it seems as if it’s harder to unify.
After Keith Lamont Scott was shot by a Charlotte police office just a few days ago, you made your way to center city Charlotte to wade into the thick of it. What motivated you to do that?
I was motivated by love. I have a deep desire to reconcile, bridge, and be in the trenches with people who are hurting and in pain. There was and is a lot of hurt and I don’t just mean the angry black people. I saw the hurt in the ordinary and in the eyes of our police. Looking at a cop, asking if I can pray for him, and he fearfully asking for me to pray for him and his family because they are scared, hurts on so many levels. It’s easy to pray in the church for our broken and fallen world, but it’s a different thing to walk in the middle of it.
I’ve lived in the suburbs over the last five years, and I found it to be almost unnatural for me. Key word, ALMOST! When I walked/walk these streets now, I come alive. I was made for this. I was created to love those different than me. I was created to love, and love casts out all fear and insecurity. There’s so much beauty in Charlotte, and Charlotte is singing a beautiful song. I deeply desire to be a part of the song of Charlotte.
What were your top take aways from walking the streets of downtown Charlotte and having conversations with protestors and bystanders?
I probably talked to over 500 people and the emotions were all over the place, but everyone, in their own unique way, wanted to peace.
Whether it looks like justice or for racism to end. I felt true, authentic love from the folks on the streets. I saw unity in different ways. I saw the media twisting the story and trying to cause emotions to flair, but I saw folks respond in love. I met angry protestors who threatened a guy because he was washing Black Lives Matter off walls, however, the white guy didn’t allow that to taint his deep desire and longing for peace. (I actually ended up walking the streets with him a good bit of the day).
It was great seeing some pastors drive from the surrounding areas, particularly white pastors, asking African Americans how they felt. They were committed to learning how to listen. It was incredible to have the opportunity to pray with a vast variety of people. The last thing was praying for two older black ladies. One worked for the police station and the other owned her on funeral business. They were hurting but they were extremely proud and encouraging. They thanked me for what I was doing and said that it was refreshing to see a young black man walking the street, bringing peace and healing to our city. There were so many take aways.
To be continued…