This week has been filled with pictures from Minneapolis and other US cities, after the violent and unnecessary death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers. Like most of us, I have been struggling with feelings of deep sadness and intense anger at the enduring power of racism embedded in our communities. I have tried to listen to the voices of anger, grief and compassion that are emerging, as difficult as some are to hear. One voice that I have appreciated is that of Dr Fayneese Miller, President of the Methodist-related Hamline University. Hamline is situated in the Minneapolis/St Paul’s area and Dr Miller is an African-American leader whose parents both served sacrificially in the Civil Rights Movement. I had the privilege of hearing some of Dr Miller’s story at a gathering of Methodist Educational leaders in January and encountered a woman whose own life embodies both the progress, and lack of it, of racial justice in the United States. I encourage you to read her wise words: https://www.hamline.edu/news/MessagefromPresidentMiller/
When I visit America, I try to ensure I can spend some time in Atlanta at the King Center. I never tire of spending some time in the original Ebenezer Baptist Church sanctuary, listening to Dr King’s words and reflecting on his life and ministry. His daughter, Dr Bernice King, carries on her father’s work and, in response to the horrors of Minneapolis, is organising an #OnlineProtest for the next week
“We wanted to organize the #OnlineProtest to give everybody, everywhere a daily tangible way to contribute in the fight against systemic racism that plagues this nation.”
Dr Bernice King
An online petition has been launched that is open to UK residents to sign, demanding justice for George Floyd and his family. Pledge your support at Change.org
We recommit to work and pray for deep, systemic change in the US and here in Britain, to acknowledge the power that racism still exerts over and within our communities in order to root it out.