Drawing of Kobe Bryant and words R.I.P Kobe Bryant

There has been an increase in the things that have separated us as Americans in our nation these past three years. We have been separated by hate. In 2018, the FBI reported that 16,039 law enforcement agencies submitted hate crime reports totaling 7,120 incidents. Of those hate crimes reported 59.6 percent were based on problems related to race, ethnicity, ancestry or bias. 

We have been separated by religion. The recent anti-Semitic attacks that occurred in New York and Jersey City – where five victims were stabbed during a Hanukkah celebration, four killed while shopping and one physically attacked while out with her child – has brought attention to the public that anti-Semitic hate crimes continue to plague our cities. There have been shootings in black and white churches last year.

We have been separated by politicians. Democrat versus Republican. We have seen a division among family and friends who can no longer have a friendly holiday together due to their political views about the current President and the situation with the estimated 69,550 migrant children, even infants and toddlers being held in U.S. government detention centers separated from their parents.

We have been separated by the #MeToo movement. Men feel they are being attacked and treated unfairly for the bad behaviors of other sexual predators. Women feel that men are not taking them seriously when they finally tell their #MeToo story. 

We have been separated from our law enforcement officers. Fatal shootings of unarmed black people across the U.S. continue to occur. Even when brought to trial the chances of the police officer being convicted are slim to none.

With all of the division that we have as a country, there are still things that unite us. Recently Americans, along with others globally, have become united over the sudden death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and the seven other people who were killed with them on January 26, 2020. Kobe was a black man. Kobe was a family man. Kobe was an inspiration to people who didn’t know him personally. Kobe stood for hard work, determination and perseverance. Kobe stood for working together as a team, being united as a family and loving one another.

People of all races, ages, cultures and sexuality have paid homage to Kobe. They have gathered together as one to celebrate the passing of someone who they admire and respect. 

Of course there are those who still believe that he was involved in the #MeToo accusation in 2003, however due to his celebrity status as a great sports figure and the tragic circumstances of his untimely death, along with his 13 year-old daughter whom he clearly loved, that incident seems to be of no concern at this time. As the old folks say, “don’t speak ill of the dead.” A Washington Post reporter found that out the hard way and is now suspended and receiving death threats for tweeting links about the “past incident.”

America needs a reason to unite. People who would never spend any time with each other, outside of the sports arena, have united in the streets.

It’s telling that the things that unite us as a people come from the death of those who we don’t know personally. We go about our daily lives, separated by the things that we think we know all about, when in fact each of us have our own personal feelings, thoughts, reactions and past experiences that cloud our judgment and sometimes keep us from seeing others’ point of view. We separate from each other based on fears known and unknown, based on what we are told to believe or not to believe, what our parents did and how they thought, what our friends think about the subject or person. These are things that unite us or cause us to divide. 

Unite means to come or bring together for a common purpose or action. As I write this today, we are united as Americans due to the death of someone that brought life to so many people. All people, all races of people, all religions, all ages, all over the world. If we can come together to grieve as one, why can’t we come together to live and unite as one? It’s something to think about, isn’t it?

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