Lenten Meditations: April 2

Boy With The Bright Smile by Ms. Spleiss, Deshaun Hill’s 10th Grade English Teacher, North High (shared publicly on Minneapolis North High’s Facebook page)

Tell me how to move on

his bright beautiful face the ghost

looming over those that lost him

Tell me what they can learn now

when life has violently interrupted

their innocence

Tell me how my two arms

can be enough

when they only stretch so far

Tell me how to erase that porcelain

smile from their memories

every second hour

Tell me how to honor

the truth

not let him be defined by trauma

Tell me how much longer

privilege gets to

keep controlling the narrative

Tell me why

because the how

makes no sense

And my heart keeps breaking



Deshaun Hill, Amir Locke, Jamari Rice. Three names out of hundreds, ripped from life, family and future every year by guns, by racism, by a cultural indifference to Black lives. We are the privileged and we can keep controlling the narrative or we can stand up and change it. We have the collective strength to join hands and voices and set the arc of the moral universe back on its long path towards justice, but the time is now, and there will be loss. Loss of comfort, loss of friends, loss of security and those losses may sting. But what should cut like a knife is the smile, the spark, the life of these three young men and others like them, who continually die at the hands of our callous refusal to do the hard work of justice. Two arms are not long enough to hold the sadness of the world, nor strong enough alone to fix it. Yet a collective of arms, of voices, of vision, can embrace and change the world.


Grieving God, we let down Jamari, Deshaun, Amir, Daunte, George, Philando, and so many others. Give us the fire and fervor to say “the sins of racism, violence and inertia end with me.”