On Monday night, George Floyd, a black resident of Minneapolis, died after being restrained by police officers, one of whom pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. Earlier this week, the Rev. Craig Loya, bishop-elect of Minnesota and former deputy from Nebraska, wrote about the situation in light of the long pattern of police brutality against people of color in the United States.
Since Bishop-elect Loya released his statement, four officers have been fired, and Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned down Floyd, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter:
I am heartbroken and angry by the cold hearted murder of George Floyd, a beloved child of God. America in 2020 is the place where black men are regularly murdered by police while they are handcuffed and begging for their lives. This simply does not happen to people who look like me. Not all of us are guilty of committing racist hate crimes, of course, but all of us are culpable in a society that devalues black and brown lives. While it would be easy for me to point the finger at the cops who have been rightly fired for committing murder, I am privileged in countless ways, known and unknown, by the racist foundation upon which our nation is built. The way of Jesus is never about fearing and devaluing the other. It is always about giving up our selves for love of the other. It is about making space in the center for those we have pushed to the margins. It is about receiving the one another across difference as a pure gift and blessing. My job as a Christian leader is always about making space for voices that have been silenced, and repenting of the injustices which I commit, and which are committed on my behalf. I hope you will join me in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd, for his family and friends. I hope you will join me in lamenting the racism we continue to tolerate together. I hope you will join me in repenting of the sin of racism that is alive and well in our church and in our world. And I hope you will call me to account whenever I fail to make space for voices of those who cry “please, please,” which is the work Jesus is always engaged in.
On Thursday, after Minneapolis erupted in protests, some of which turned destructive, Deputy Rena Turnham and alternate deputy Paul Lebens-Englund of Minnesota spoke with Episcopal News Service about the church’s need to do sustained work to dismantle systemic racism. “Folks that were not there yet just got there very quickly and are wrestling with the deep internal questions of what can one white person do,” Turnham said. Read the article online.
The Episcopal Church in Minnesota asked all Minnesota Episcopalians to take the following actions:
- Call elected officials to demand justice.
- If you can, donate to organizations working on the front line of these issues: Black Visions Collective, Reclaim the Block, Minnesota Freedom Fund, CTUL, COPAL, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, NAACP Minneapolis, Voices for Racial Justice
- Donate to the family of George Floyd.
- If you are a white person, we invite you to find ways to amplify the voices of those who are not being heard. We invite you to continue to learn, to engage in dialogue and to move beyond your comfort zone to understand your privilege. We’ve curated many resources over the years that you can find here.
Donate to the Lake Street Council.
photo by alternate deputy Paul Lebens-Englund, courtesy of ENS