Red Bank, SC (Paul Kirby) – When Jessie Bowen saw a man standing at a busy intersection in Red Bank Monday, he first thought nothing of it. Jessie, a tree expert by trade, sees plenty of people along Red Bank’s roads. Some are homeless looking for a handout while others might be walking to work or just out for a casual stroll. What caught Jessie’s attention and made him feel compelled to eventually stop was a sign this man held. Its message was that all lives matter. That message touched Jessie’s heart.
Jessie was raised in church by his parents and grandparents and he knew the message was right. “We’re all God’s children,” Jessie said in a recent interview. “He’s my brother, I’m his brother, we’re all in the family of God.” Jessie told his wife when he passed, “If he’s there when I come back by, I’m just going to stop and give him a big hug!”
Jesse and his wife finished their shopping and began heading home. When they approached the intersection of Two Notch and South Lake, the man was still there. Without hesitation, Jessie stopped his car in the road, put his flashers on and embraced him in a hug. Jessie said the man genuinely embraced him back, one brother hugging another. When he let go, Jessie said the big man had tears welling up in his eyes. Traffic was blocked for a few moments, but no one seemed to care. This was a family reunion of two brothers that had never know each other before.
Some identified this man as a black man when they spoke of him on social media. Jessie said, “To me he’s just a man. His race makes no matter to me. I see a man God made, not the color of his skin. He’s a man just like me and he was quietly making the world know that all of us are important in the eyes of God.”
The man, who we’ve been trying to identify and reach, was a protester, not a rioter. He had a simple message, and he delivered it in a simple way. Everyone should be treating each other with respect. We all matter; every life is precious. This simple protest of the way some are treated differently touched many. At times others would stop, gather, and support what he was doing. Jessie said to him, the man’s message was clear. “We should all love and respect one another. All lives do matter.”
If anyone knows how to contact the man holding the sign, please ask that he call Paul at (803) 587-3144.