June 11, 2020
|Dear Members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, |
“How long, O God, will you hide yourself from sight? … Remember that I shall not live forever.” – Psalm 89:46-7
|These last few weeks the Psalmist’s cry is heard in our land, “How long, O Lord?” |
In the wake of the death of George Floyd, the latest African American to die by police violence, the people of the United States, indeed the entire world, moan in grief and burn with anger. George Floyd’s name is added to a long list of unarmed Black and Brown people, including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, who have died by actions taken by police officers or vigilantes in the past few decades and indeed centuries.
We are reminded that on July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was arrested in New York City where a chokehold smothered him. Hauntingly similar to George Floyd, Garner was heard to be saying, “I can’t breathe” eleven times before losing consciousness and dying an hour later.
In 2015, the College of Regional Ministers wrote to you, the Church, about race and racism in America in the shadow of similar events, expressing our concerns and laying out a plan of action for our church to follow to move forward in our work of becoming an Pro-Reconciling/Anti-Racist Church. We ask ourselves if our words made any difference, if anything has changed?
Because on May 25, 2020, as we heard George Floyd on an 8 minute 46 second video gasping “I can’t breathe” as a police officer kneeled on his neck, we know we must speak to you again with our hearts broken and our resolve strengthened.
This must stop. Black Lives Matter!
We, as your Regional Ministers, cry out with those who mourn, take to the streets with those who march, and support those who seek to make changes in our world so that every beloved child of God will have the chance to breathe freely, and together pursue justice, equity, and dignity throughout the land. And, in doing so, may we see the face of God.
May it be so.
The College of Regional Ministers of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada
For a complete version of this letter, with recommended actions, click here or download PDF.