If you ever heard a voice that sounds like a gentle breeze, it may be that of Christopher 2X (formerly Christopher Anthony Bryant). This peace activist is one known widely. A man who chooses never to have enemies, only people who need healing, who need a class on hatred and racism, and who is a cure for this toxic disease.
Christopher 2x’s childhood troubles began at 14, when he began dealing drugs. He served months at a juvenile facility. He dropped out of high school in the 11th grade, was convicted of cocaine trafficking in 1984, and served three years in prison. The final chapter of his criminal career was in 1990 when he violated parole and was charged with cocaine possession and went to prison for three years.
If Hollywood looked for a story of someone who decided to turn his life around, this would be it. Christopher Anthony Bryant would become the “wounded healer.” After converting to Islam, his life began to change, and he took the name Christopher 2X. He wanted to become a voice of calm and reason in Louisville, a city plagued with police violence against African Americans. He did not choose to use a megaphone.
He has counseled youth about nonviolence and staying away from drugs. He has led prayer vigils for families who have lost loved ones to violence. If families ask, he speaks to the media on their behalf.
After the murder of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old woman murdered by police in her apartment whose death sparked months of protests across the country, he supported her family, met with Kentucky’s Attorney General, and facilitated grand jury members speaking out after the verdict.
As the New Year begins, we again pray for peace, and for peacemakers who can lead the way. Christopher 2X is one who continues to model the peacemakers we need.
One political operative stated his giftedness clearly: “He has the ability to get people in the same room who would not think to speak to each other. He can find common ground with anyone and bring people together.” What a gift in a period of tribes and deep political division! His is the story of a high school dropout who received an honorary doctorate, a convicted felon that became a trusted partner with the FBI, a former drug dealer, now a community leader.
When addressing the issue of racism, he speaks from his personal experience from elementary school to the present. This has been a “roller coaster ride,” as he describes it. He treats racism as a disease, and chooses to take the high road, to be a voice of reason. Christopher 2X often says he was born on this earth for a reason and this is his message to young people with whom he meets every week. His mantra to them: “You were birthed into the world for a reason, regardless of conditions that beat you down.”
President Trump just granted Christopher 2X a pardon for his crimes in his early life. Let the country say AMEN! He did not ask for a pardon because he is too humble for that.
As we end 2020, we can celebrate the life of a peacemaker who never stops working, considers praying and recognizing all people as worthy, not as enemies, as essential work. In a world of chaos, we are blessed to hear a soft voice.