As a child of the '60s, I grew up with enormous respect for our leaders. It was a time of the civil rights movement, racial injustice and police brutality but also a time of togetherness and understanding. We were trained as kids to honor our mother and father as the Bible taught, and family was the primary focus.
Parents shared with their children important values to prepare them for a strong and productive life. We also learned by following the examples of adults in our communities; neighbors and teachers were held in high regard. We were introduced to the police force in kindergarten and first grade. "Officer Friendly" was the name the teacher called the tall white man in the blue uniform who walked around and shook our small hands. We believed that policemen in our neighborhoods were there to protect and serve the families who resided there, black or white. Times have changed, considerably.
I felt disheartened when I read about Jordan Miles, a violinist in his senior year at the Pittsburgh High School for Creative and Performing Arts, who says he was beaten by police as he traveled from his home to that of his grandmother in his community ("CAPA Student Claims City Police Beat Him," Jan. 22). Jordan is a student with promise. He posed no threat to the police but felt threatened and ran out of fear, and I totally understand why.
My prayers are with Jordan and his family as he recovers from this horrible experience -- an innocent young man, unfortunately with the wrong skin tone. I also pray for sensitivity training for our police force so we can get back to the days of old when "Officer Friendly" in small communities stood by the name he was blessed with.