Hello, I’m thinking about building bridges. You know Ming used to meet for breakfast with a cop, someone in law enforcement we met at the test site. The cop was guarding the test site from us wild protesters who might cross the line during the Sacred Peace Walk or another prayer event.
I can’t remember how the meetings started. There was talk of making a collaborative cookbook of foods loved by the protesters and the law enforcement. Maybe some special campfire dishes cooked at Peace Camp could be included.
A lot of my friends hate cops and say “don’t talk to cops.” Yes, we are upset by many aspects of violence, all the ways violence rears its head.
But Ming and I think communication is a way to heal culture. Our culture needs healing. Treating people as people and trying to connect is a start. We’re not going to trust a cop or marry one. But meeting for breakfast might be ok. Breakfast is something.
We love building bridges like that. It can be risky, but what are we on earth to do, but love? Love means risking a lot, our very hearts.
I was telling some progressive, maybe radical and maybe liberal people about this law enforcement encounter Ming did over the years, and how funny it was. “Here’s my anarchist, Asian, nonbinary spouse meeting with a cop for breakfast. It’s pretty awkward, but the bagels are delicious,” I explained.
I knew these strangers might judge me for Ming’s cop engaging, but they seemed just slightly curious and confused. This was a breakout room during a zoom, and we had only a small amount of time together.
The whole thing is a testament to Ming’s excellence. He can talk with just about anyone. He’s hurt by different things than I am and socially resilient. I’m hurt by a thousand things. Just seeing the gun on the cop’s hip would be enough to seriously squick me.
I can be around law enforcement at a protest or vigil at an air force base, but I have to psych myself out beforehand and recover afterward. The super unbalanced power dynamic makes me dizzy with fear.
Ming is amazing. He would go on this cop date and come home to tell me what he and the cop talked about over breakfast.
“What did you have to eat?” I asked. “Did he pay for it?”
Yes, it was on the government’s dime. Ming would tell me about his meal and recount the cop’s love of jet skiing, thoughts about South Africa and education, and what foods he was eating / not eating for his health.
slow of speech
I get the sense Ming didn’t talk a lot. Ming is slow of speech after all. But Ming’s showing up for the cop was an act of love.
I see it as generous and vulnerable. It’s one of the thousand reasons I deeply respect Ming for who he is, building bridges like a love engineer.
What a brilliant braveness he has, understated and unpretentious, doing the work, day in and day out, for many people including me. Most people do good at a 3 out of 10, then talk about it at an 8 out of 10. Ming does good at an 8 out of 10, then talks about it at a 1.
“You don’t toot your own horn,” I told him. “Everyone else is tooting.”
Here’s the card we gave the law enforcement person when Ming met with him for the last time.
We will miss you and keep you in our prayers.