As faith leaders we write to condemn the brutal murder of George Floyd of Minneapolis and to commit to working toward a more just and equitable future.
The death of Mr. Floyd at the hands of police officers was a modern-day lynching. His death reinforces a long history of people of color, especially African-American males. Those who killed Mr. Floyd should be held accountable.
History repeats itself again and again. Mr. Floyd's death was not an isolated incident. Others who have recently died include Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice. They have each been senselessly slain because of racism. We know this violence to be morally and legally wrong and yet, it continues.
The risk of police brutality makes living as a person of color dangerous. Protests, vigils and letters help us to express anger and grief, yet alone they will not change the learned behavior of racism. In order to curtail violent acts based on skin color, policies should be changed, and practices and behaviors should be punished so that inequities can be abated. If laws, policies and practices become more stringent, then perhaps violent acts will be lessened. But, in the meantime, many are dying.
We do this as holy work. Our respective faith traditions call us to be accountable to one another and to the greater power that holds us together. Making these changes is not work we can do alone.
How are you being changed by Mr. Floyd's death? How will these past two weeks guide your time and attention, and sharing of resources this next year? How will you help end racism? Since seeing these images, has anything changed in you?
As we hold the memory of Mr. Floyd in our prayers, we fall short if we leave these questions unanswered.
Molly Burgoyne Brian
Third Haven Friends Meeting
Rev. Sue Browning
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Easton
Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River
The Rev. Bill Chilton
Fr. Kevin Cross
The Church of the Holy Trinity, Oxford
Rev. Nancy M. Dennis
St. Stephen’s African Methodist Episcopal Church
Pastor Wendell Gary
Bethel Africian Methodist Episcopal Church
The Rev. Julie Hart
Interim Pastor, Grace Lutheran Church, ELCA, Easton
Rev. Dartanyon L. Hines
Scotts United Methodist Church
Asbury United Methodist Church
Rabbi Naomi Hyman
Rabbi Peter Hyman
Temple B’Nai Israel
The Rt. Rev. Joel Marcus Johnson
Anglican Bishop of The Chesapeake, Ret.
M Walid Kamsheh, MD
Leader, Islamic Center of Easton
Rev. Leonard E. Palmer, Sr.
St. Luke UMC (Bellevue)
Executive Director, Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center
Rev. Tim Poly
Royal Oak Community UMC
The Very Rev. Gregory L. Powell
Dean of Trinity Cathedral
Rev. Nancy Sajda
Interfaith Minister and President P.E.A.C.E.
Pastors Tony and Deborah Short
TriLife Christian Center
Rev. Dr. Wm. T. Wallace, Sr.
Union United Methodist Church
Pastor Robert M. White
Pastor Walt Wiltschek
Easton Church of the Brethren