I once heard an African-American man say that the secret fear of all men like him is that, when they leave their home, they will never return to it. No-one should live like that.
George Floyd is one of many people who will not return home. He was arrested and pinned on the ground. His neck was crushed under the knee of a police officer, even as onlookers begged for the officer to stop. George Floyd was pronounced dead at the hospital. This crime happened in Minneapolis, USA.
While we are all mourning the senseless killing of George Floyd, we are resolute in our insistence that no arrest should end in death. Unfortunately, that happens all too often to Black people and communities of colour. We also know that freedom is a constant struggle so we will not ease up on our demand for justice for George Floyd, in particular, and for all victims of police-based violence, in general.”
This is a time for citizens to hold police accountable for the senseless violence perpetrated against Black people and communities of colour. We see what happens when racism and unchecked police power converge on black bodies: lethal force as a first resort, blaming victims for their deaths, and targeting of community activists and concerned citizens demanding accountability. The whole system is implicated and now is time for systemic change.
We know that all over the world today, people are being judged by the colour of their skin. As a white person, it is rare for me to have to think about that. When we say Emmanuel “God with us”, we include the Divine being embodied in black skin, in brown skin, in our siblings who are challenged every day because of other people’s ignorance, prejudice and the systems that allow racism to be upheld. We can make ourselves more aware of how racism impacts us all. In ULCCI and beyond, we can and must work together to change systems and structures, to work for justice.
The Most Reverend Dr Jonathan Hughes
United Liberal Catholic Church International