This statement, supported by members of staff and board, may be hard to read for some of us, but it is absolutely necessary to do so. We pray it may engender the difficult and challenging conversations we all should have around race in our country, especially for the sake of our children.
George Floyd was murdered in cold blood, plain and simple. The murderer was finally arrested and charged. His three accomplices are still at large. Our hearts ache for the Floyd family and for all families whose lives have been torn apart by similar murders. This horrific incident has set off global protests and rightly so. But it’s not just about George Floyd; he is the proverbial last straw. Our country has been a tinderbox of racism, white privilege and supremacy since it began. It was built on the blood and stolen land of the indigenous; its economy has been constructed on the backs of stolen Black bodies; its dominant white culture has been preserved through lynchings, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, red lining, police brutality and whatever other means to institutionalize privilege. And many of us live this privilege even if unawares simply due to the whiteness of our skin. This is why we believe that Black Lives Matter is an important statement—because they haven’t mattered and it should now be obvious to all. We stand with our Black brothers and sisters in the struggle to attain a true equality, true equity, true economic and health parity and a true welcoming into American society.
While we decry the widespread culture of police brutality of which this incident is a most egregious example, we also stand with our brothers and sisters who are just, honest, compassionate police officers working hard every day, not to control, but to serve our communities. We see how many of you have taken off your militarized gear and walked with the protesters, to hear their stories, to listen to their pain, to understand what is really going on. We see how some of you have shed tears even as you stood in lines to prevent looting and hold back unruly and violent people who are co-opting these demonstrations. We see the difficult, if not impossible, decisions that you have to make in the midst of all this.
We pray that we all learn the history we need to learn; that we all hear the pain of centuries of untold subjugation; that we all look into our own hearts, especially those of us privileged by the color of our skin, and believe that transformation can and must happen. NO more waiting; no more excuses; no more suffering at one another’s hands. Paraphrasing Maya Angelou, hatred has never solved a single problem in this world. The righteous anger so many of us feel now, born of a love frustrated by lack of response, must lead to real, specific changes in the way we do things here in America or George Floyd and all those before him will have yet again died in vain.
We at Sojourner Truth House commit to doing our part in this transformation through the service we offer to the most vulnerable, trying to make a beloved community amongst all the people of NWI.
Links to specific actions: