The end of the semester is approaching and in my Public Theology class my professor offered us an extra credit opportunity. I definitely wanted to take advantage. All we had to do was attend one of the events that she offered. So today my friend and I decided to go to one of them.

To be honest we barely had any idea what we were going to. All it said in the email was that it was an event focused on police and community relations in Cincinnati and that they would be showing a documentary and have commentary and discussion afterwards. I had no idea what it was going to be like and had no expectations at all. Who knew that it was going to totally rock my world.

The moment I walked into the church that the event was being held at I had a little culture shock. It was a predominantly African-American audience. It was definitely different than what I am used to but I thought it was super interesting to be immersed in a different culture. The documentary was based on the Cincinnati Riots that happened in the early 2000’s.

Even though I was born and raised in Cincinnati I never really knew too much about the riots, until today. These riots occurred after multiple controversial deaths of young black men by police officers.  So this documentary took you through everything that happened and showed the background information about the trials, details, and families of the victims.

This documentary absolutely shook me up. I couldn’t believe all these things that happened just in my backyard in my city. To see the pain that these people had to go through because of inequality and the injustice that they faced then and still now really broke my heart. Being a Korean-American I have definitely faced prejudice but the racism and the effects of it that African-Americans have to go through is something totally different. Being from the suburbs and not really knowing what happens in the inner city, I never really had eyes to see what people have to go through. But today I was able to look at my city and the people in this city through a different lens.

After the documentary was over I was filled with many emotions, varying from being sad to feeling angry and everything in between. But during the discussion time is when my heart really broke and God filled me with compassion. They passed the mic around to people who wanted to comment on the movie. To hear the pain in these people’s hearts and to see them even weep really impacted me. We see these kinds of things all the time on the news today but I never really took the time to try to understand what these people had to go through until today.

I will never fully understand what it means to be racially profiled to the extent that African-Americans do. I will never understand how it feels to encounter injustice and inequality just because my skin color. I will never understand the heartbreak that one has to go through because someone of my own race was killed because of their skin color.

But being in the midst of a community grieving together and lamenting together I was able to at least understand a little. This experience that I had tonight is hard to put in words. All I know is that it has broke my heart and filled me with compassion. I have been able to have a new lens and viewpoint on looking at certain issues and matters in the community.

I am so thankful that God gave me this opportunity. I know that God’s heart breaks for these people and this city of Cincinnati and tonight my heart breaks for what breaks His.

I saw God today.

Did you?

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