We are deeply troubled and distressed by the violent assault on and resulting death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. His anguished cry, “I can’t breathe,” as an officer pressed his knee into his neck, reminds us of the cries six years ago of Eric Garner, another unarmed African-American man who died in New York police custody.
Now, Rayshard Brooks (June) is added to the list along with Ahmaud Arbery (February) and Breonna Taylor (March), and all others in recent memory, compelling us to speak up against the epidemic of violence against innocent black Americans by police. These deaths are alarming indicators of the way black people are being dehumanized, marginalized and devalued.
For these deaths and all killings of innocent Americans by police due to skin color, we mourn. We call for an end to these killings by police who are meant to protect us all.
The race-based violence in our country is, as President Obama said, “an American issue” that confronts every one of us, individually and systemically. We pray for all victims of violence and their grieving families. And we call on all of us to engage in personal and national soul-searching on the evils of our socialization in racist systems and the steps we must take to detoxify our hearts and the heart of our nation. Let us draw on Rev. King and his Christ-inspired words for guidance: “Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
As we work toward building healing relationships, we recognize the necessity of a holy recommitment to both the dignity of each person as a creature of God and to the transforming power of hope.
Our Christian faith tradition holds that we are all one people, one body; each made in the image of God.
We offer this prayer for Hope and Calm:
Holy One, give us an awareness of your presence today.
Help us to feel the nearness of your tenderness, the power of your strength, and the solace of your compassion.
Assist us to see beauty present in the world, hope shown in kind action, and love demonstrated in small, real ways.
Calm our thoughts; nurture and sustain our gratitude.