Anita Shaw, was stationed in Iraq for the U.S. Army when her son, Jamiel Jr., was killed. She said she was filled with anger when she saw Espinoza, the young man who murdered her son. Her response, initially, was that she says, she wanted to “get up in his face and say, 'How dare you kill my baby! How dare you kill anybody,'" The murdered Jamiel’s father said he thought he’d see a “monster”, but now says he saw a “normal kid”.
Jamiel Shaw Sr. is now championing the cause of pulling together the two diverse communities of blacks and Latinos in an attempt to curtail the violence.
Jamiel Sr is now seeing this problem as bigger than the boy he once thought of as a “monster”. He is now seeing that Espinoza (the accused murderer of Jamiel, Jr) is a part of a system of violence and in need of help as surely as his son.
Making the shift to compassion
Moving from seeing his son and the boy who murdered him in the juxtaposed positions of victim and perpetrator, Jamiel Sr has begun the process of moving into compassion. When we are stuck in the point of view of seeing even such horrendous crimes as the violent death of a young, positive role model, like young Jamiel, as more than a question of right and wrong, good guys vs. bad guys, and good and evil, we have a chance of changing the world.
A new kind of hero
In my opinion father’s like Jamiel are heroes. They are the model for the world. When we can find it in our hearts to move into compassion, or even further, into forgiveness, for those whose hands committed these horrors we have moved into an entirely different level of existing as humans. This, is exactly what Azim Khamisa is doing. Azim Khamisa
With over 10 years experience as a teacher of peace and unity, Azim’s mission is to heal hurt hearts through the path of forgiveness. His speeches and workshop – delivered to thousands over the past 11 years - follows the three steps he used to help heal his own heart: (a) acknowledge that you have been wronged; (b) give up all the resulting resentment and (c) reach out to the offending person/party with love and compassion.
Azim’s message mirrors that of my own, and his mission, one of helping humanity grow beyond our wounding. When you can allow yourself to overcome the wounding you’ve experienced and move into compassion through stepping out of the cycle of violence and egocentrism we live in, it changes everything.
Could you do it?
Could you forgive the person that killed your son? Or is that the wrong approach to dealing with violence? Tell me what you think. Comment below.