9 Speak out, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
As I write this on Thursday night I am very aware that had the situation been different with the COVID, tonight my children and I would have been in Minneapolis. Kevin and my mom would be arriving tomorrow and we would be celebrating my graduation all weekend. And yet tonight in Minneapolis there is violence and protests and anger and deep, gut-wrenching sorrow about the murder of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed by members of the Minneapolis Police Department this week.
In regard to my NOT being there, someone said to me “God works in mysterious ways.” With all respect and gratitude for the love for my family that was meant by that comment, I am horrified by that same comment.
While I KNOW it was not intended, what it felt like was “While many are in the midst of violence and battling racial discrimination that destroys souls, while people have died and will continue to die because of the colour of their skin, while racism and so many other “isms” are part of the fabric of many places – it’s really good that you’re safe and you don’t have to have your weekend ruined by what is happening there.”
Again, I KNOW that that wasn’t the intent of the comment.
I also know that my African-American classmate and friend DeWayne, who I have come to love, is a minister in Minneapolis and I can imagine how his heart is breaking for his people.
I know that tonight and this weekend, while his commencement speech will be live-streamed on Zoom (he is our Class Valedictorian), he will be standing on the streets of Minneapolis in solidarity and working with other faith leaders to find ways to not only help restore peace in his city, but to actively work to bring about change for Black Americans.
I know that while I am horrified at the racism that continues to happen in “places far away”, there is racism, homophobia, and other forms of violent oppression that happen in our own communities.
I know that as we talked about this at our family dinner table tonight I could not find the words to express to my children how horrific and unacceptable and “against God” this is. There are no words.
I know that in my place of privilege, I am naïve, and that what strikes me as horrific is the reality that many people live with on a daily basis – it just doesn’t “make the press.”
I know that I have a role to play in working toward change, but I DON”T KNOW (or perhaps I am afraid to know) what that role is or how God is calling me to respond.
I do know that the time to sit silently is long past and that we each have a role to play in bringing about God’s kingdom of justice, peace, freedom from oppression and love.
And so tonight I pray:
-for George Floyd, his family and friends
– for all who grieve Mr. Floyd’s loss and for all who grieve what his death means for African Americans
-for those who go to sleep each night knowing that the colour of their skin, their ethnicity, their gender, their faith, their age, who they love, how they identify – might make them objects of hatred, discrimination and violence
-for those who work every day to educate and advocate for justice
-for politicians, law enforcement and leaders who are working toward change
-for my friend DeWayne, his colleagues and the faith communities that will love one another toward healing AND will use their voices to speak out
-for those who long to respond and help bring about change, but are uncertain what that looks like
-for those who do not recognize the ways in which they discriminate and for those who do
-that I will hear God’s call to me and you will hear God’s call to you – to take the next step
-for hope and healing and God’s will to be done on earth.
May it be so. Amen.
To Listen and Sing:
American folk singer and activist Pete Seeger adopted and helped popularize “We Shall Overcome” by teaching the song at rallies and protests. It is not a marching song. It is not necessarily defiant. It is a promise: “We shall overcome someday. Deep in my heart, I do believe.”
 From NPR.org