Rev. Deborah Lee and Rev. Larry W. Foy
We share a sense of somber relief in response to yesterday’s guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin. George Floyd was a father, son, and brother whose life mattered. We pray this verdict brings some measure of healing and acknowledgement to the Floyd family, and is a first step of accountability for a tragic and preventable loss of life. We pray that this moment marks an end to the impunity of law enforcement, particularly with violence enacted towards Black people. We believe that our society must be one that treats Black lives as sacred and one that fosters care, compassion, and dignity.
We offer our prayers to the Floyd family and thousands of other families alike who have lost a loved one to police violence. We remember yesterday’s latest victim, Ma’Khia Bryant, along with Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and those here in California: Steven Taylor, Michael Thomas, Yanira Serrano, Angelo Quinto to only name a few.
Death at the hands of police killings is a trend that is increasing and disproportionately impacts the lives of Black people at three times the rate of other communities. So far this year over 260 civilians have been killed by police. LA County Sheriff’s and LAPD have killed over 1,000 people since 2000. It is not just a few bad apples. Police violence is an epidemic and threat to public health and safety.
We need radical change and transformation in order to realize an equitable and just world. The existing system which focuses solely on punishment, does not bring about restoration but continues the cycle of harm and violence. True transformation and change cannot be achieved through our current system of policing, punishment, and prisons. We need processes that center healing and transformation.
True justice will come through the eradication of structural racism and individual bias. True justice will come when public safety is reimagined and centers on violence prevention and investing resources for people to thrive. True justice will come when we create a society where every person is respected, valued and embraced in their full selves.
We invite you to join with us at the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity in our organizing efforts to reimagine public safety in our communities and along our border, where we are calling for a radical redirection of funds from harmful enforcement models into investing in affordable housing, good jobs, equitable health and education, programs and support for youth and elders.
As a nation, it is time for us to pass federal legislation like the Breathe Act which invests in a new vision of public safety, genuine security and liberation. Only restorative justice will get us out of this long pattern of collective trauma and move us towards collective healing. We hope you will join us.