Here are some of my thoughts on the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and my own brother, Donald Lee “Donnie” Deason, and so many others whose senseless murders never make the news nor ever receive any justice here on earth. I purposefully waited to share these thoughts on the anniversary of my brother’s murder. I am not listing all the recent names of those who have died senselessly and unjustly, so this is not meant to leave anyone out – all of these lives matter.
Unfortunately, I heard the report that my beloved brother cried for our mother too in his final minutes of life just like the news reported George Floyd cried out for his mother. This should break your heart. If it doesn’t, something is wrong. I cried when I accidentally saw the brief video on the news of George Floyd’s final minutes of life. If you didn’t, your heart is too hard. I always try to avoid these kinds of images on the news, because, even before Donnie was murdered so violently, I have always been greatly disturbed by acts of violence against anyone. I got caught off guard and, immediately, my emotions and painful memories were engaged.
All forms of racism, prejudice, police brutality, and hatred are evil. I agree with my Pastor that the supremacy of Christ is the only supremacy that reigns over all. I will not be silent in speaking against evil, injustice and hatred from my perspective and personal experience.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice. Proverbs 31:8-9
Again, any type of violent act against any individual, no matter who they are, has always greatly distressed me. I do, of course, understand the premise of war from a military perspective to maintain order, peace and justice, and that physical harm is often justified and necessary in order to protect the innocent and prevail against those plotting evil schemes against people of all colors and nations of all ethnicities. I do not agree with violence as a form of sport or entertainment as so many do in our culture. We are so desensitized in our culture to violence.
After my brother was so violently murdered, I certainly never wanted to see any of the forensic photos and only wanted to remember his beautiful smile. I have had enough nightmarish images to battle even not seeing them. Again, just hearing what happened to George Floyd was upsetting enough to me. But perhaps I needed to actually see the video and also hear that George Floyd cried like Donnie, to embolden me to speak up for such a time as this and in memory of all those whose graves cry out for someone to speak and keep speaking up in their memory.
Evil knows no color. Hate knows no color.
Injustice knows no color.
Love, however, is colorblind.
Yellow, brown, black and white – all lives matter in God’s eyes.
Let us love, honor and respect all the people of the world.
What happened to both Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd is not only cruel and unjust, but heart breaking. These acts of horrific evil, and especially what happened to George Floyd while in handcuffs, have triggered further painful memories of my own brother’s unjust and untimely death 26 years ago today, as he was under temporary protective custody when he lost his life. Through a lot of prayer, counsel, and time spent in worship and God’s Word, I have experienced so much healing, but sensing even still today there is more healing to come. I can relate to the pain these families are experiencing.
While under the protective custody of police authorities, Donnie’s civil rights were violated too. These authorities also abused their power and authority and neglected their responsibility to protect my brother, Donald Lee “Donnie” Deason. Instead, they acted as instigators to make sure he would be viciously beaten to death by intentionally placing him in a cell on his first and final night in jail with another violent cell mate and then purposefully not answering his cries for help. At the young age of 30, Donnie bled to death on the cold cell floor of The Birmingham City Jail on June 13, 1994. This is inexcusable, but I have had to forgive them all. I have chosen to forgive all and love and pray for all people always. My brother was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after leaving a movie theatre intoxicated. His last night here on earth and his actions that evening were certainly not reflective of his life, having served with honors and accolades in the Air Force and Air National Guard, coaching youth basketball, and having many friends. After speaking briefly to my father following his arrest, Donnie’s main concern was not missing work the next day at The Federal Reserve Bank. My patriotic, people loving and hard working brother had no idea he would never see another day.
Again, every person deserves to be valued and treated with respect and dignity, even while in custody, temporarily detained, or incarcerated. Every person deserves legal representation and a fair trial when arrested or charged with a crime, but many do not get that either, especially when you are murdered before you get locked up behind bars or shortly thereafter.
Love knows no color and, unfortunately, evil knows no color.
Because of what happened to my own brother, I do understand what it feels like to experience the horror, shock and indescribable pain of losing a loved one through the decisions of power abusing authorities with evil motives. This helps me to empathize with others who experience the same no matter their skin color.
My prayers are with the Arbery and Floyd families. May God’s healing, comfort, and peace cover, carry and strengthen them I pray, and may justice prevail.
May the perpetration of such tragic and corrupt evil under those in authority end for all people no matter the color of their skin.
One of the greatest advocates for social change, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Dr. King peacefully marched and led the civil rights movement. He believed in God and following Biblical principles to speak against injustice and to clearly communicate a vision for change.
In my brother’s case, those involved with his murder just happened to be black. Do I now hate black people? No. Do I now judge all black people? No. Do I now hate police officers? No. I respect and pray for all people of all colors and all those in authority, including the President, even if I don’t like or agree with him and/or didn’t vote for him. It’s the same root issue.
All of us are aware that our police officers put their lives in danger everyday, frequently encounter the worst of humanity, and have to be on guard against all kinds of danger and hate aimed at them because of the badges they wear. The majority of our police officers are good and do their very difficult jobs with honor, dignity, integrity and courage. The protective and community services our police officers provide is needed and should be honored, applauded and appreciated. We should all be praying for the physical protection of our police officers and the National Guard too. We should pray for accountability, respect, and order to be restored and maintained for all those in authority so we can live peacefully in all our cities.
Following my brother’s murder, we participated in several peaceful rallies to stand together and speak up for justice to prevail. Only the cell mate was convicted of manslaughter in my brother’s case, even though he was not the only one guilty. I agree with many others that we have the right, and it is often the right thing to do, to peacefully protest. We hope we do not have to do this in order for Christians to resume our worship services. There seems to be very little tolerance for worshipers congregating, but rioting and looting are deemed essential. (That is another issue.)
Peaceful protests are fine, but hearts are only changed through the power of love and prayer.
Laws are not changed by trashing and terrorizing our streets. Many do not believe in God, the principles of The Bible, nor in the power of love and prayer, or honor and respect for all people, and this is what we are sadly witnessing. The peaceful protestors are being overtaken by many whose hearts are filled with hate, and even criminal motives. These non-peaceful rioters (many with their own agendas) are just seizing the opportunity to bring chaos and confusion. It is heartbreaking to see many of our cities so disrespectfully overtaken with anacrchy, disorder, and destruction to businesses and property. Many innocent citizens as well as police officers (of all races) are being injured or losing their lives needlessly and tragically. There is a better way.
Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
Lord, bring a restoration of honor and respect for all people and all those in authority. Restore order and peace in all our cities across America we pray. Let more community and church leaders come together in a spirit of humility, courage, boldness and unity to pray, speak and stand up for justice for all peacefully we pray. Amen.
If, as the result of an experience with evil or corruption or racism, we begin to be against the entire police force and all those in authority, or against all whites or all blacks, we have then become guilty of being prejudice ourselves.
Rise up, O God, and the people of God and all those who stand for love, honor, righteousness, justice and truth. May the enemies of peace and righteous order be scattered and may justice and truth prevail we pray in America today. Amen. (Psalm 68:1)
The real war is against evil hearts and only God can change a person’s heart.
Come Holy Spirit and move and touch hearts with Your amazing love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, healing, comfort and peace we pray. Do what only You can do, mighty Spirit of God, in Jesus mighty name, Amen.
Every year, for many years now, I have written or shared some type of media post in memory of my brother, Donnie, not only on the 13th when he left this earth but on the 13th of his November birthday. On this 13th day of June, 2020, I share this from my heart once again to honor not only the memory of my brother’s life, but all others who have died unjustly.
May we always remember you and speak up to honor who you were as a valuable individual created in the image of Your Creator, God. The God who loves us all, sent His Son to die for us all, and to pay the sacrificial price for all our sins, including the sins of racism, prejudice, and murder.
We all bleed crimson and the crimson stained cross is what we need to unite us for such a time as this.
Forgiveness is like setting a prisoner free and realizing the prisoner was me.
And Jesus prayed, Father forgive them for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34
In October of 2017, the man who was convicted of manslaughter in my brother’s murder, came up for parole. When I received notice of this, immediately I knew the Lord had another step of obedience and healing for me to walk out. God prompted me to put in writing the full of expression of my heart to this man and to the Parole Board. I did. I included scripture and blessing along with my full forgiveness and release of him and all others. More tears flowed as I wrote the letter. I knew I had already prayed many prayers over the years asking God to help me forgive fully and be totally free, and felt that I had fully forgiven, but this was another step even 23 years down the road. While writing this letter, one of the things I struggled with that came forth was believing the lie that my writing this letter specifically stating my forgiveness and release would somehow degrade or devalue the memory of my brother and his life. This is how deception can be used to keep us in bondage.
In my letter, after expressing my forgiveness, here is an excerpt that followed:
“Even as I write this in tears, the memory of my beloved brother is vividly overwhelming me right now. In NO WAY, does this eradicate the intense love and loss that I’ve experienced. Forgiving and releasing you, …, does not diminish the love I still feel so strongly in my heart for my brother, nor does it bring dishonor to his memory and his treasured life. May this act of forgiveness and obedience bring only honor to Donnie’s memory.”
Yes I will.
Yes I will sing for joy when my heart is heavy.
Yes I will lift You high in the lowest valley.
I have had to do it. I have been through the dark valley of grief and suffering and I have lifted The Lord high always.
When the ties that bind us closely to this earth are gone, the ties that bind us close to Heaven are made stronger.
He heals the wounds of every shattered heart. Psalm 147:3 TPT
My prayers of healing, peace and comfort and the grace to forgive and release are with all those who have and are suffering and grieving from all evil acts and injustice.