George Floyd: You Did Not Die in Vain
These past two weeks have been extremely difficult for people who are Black or African American and those of us who love and honor our brothers and sisters of color. The horrific murder of George Floyd exposed more than injustice. As one of our Black co-workers said, the history of racism, fear, injustice, and inequality creates trauma that continues to be revealed through the actions of many people every day. Another African American co-worker expressed anger at the violent protests and looting and sadness seeing local stores destroyed mentioning how neighbors have no access now to food and supplies locally. Another co-worker said we need people who will listen.
This past week Voice and Vision, through the Outreach and Education Initiative in Chester County, PA, (an initiative with faith-based ministries primarily serving Black/African Americans) has been able to talk to many people of color and listen as they poured out their heart and soul about the incidents that have taken place to African Americans throughout the centuries, decades and within the past few years. All of us who listened learned a lot and felt a lot.
What we heard so deeply in every story is Black/African Americans need a platform to speak, people that will listen and understand, and willing partners to fight injustice, abolish racism, and rectify inequality.
For me it starts with: loving a God who created beautiful diversity; honoring and respecting each culture and person; and uniting to bring justice and equality into at least eight spheres of influence (education, family, religion, government, media, arts/entertainment, healthcare, and business/commerce).
As a white person I repent for the atrocities done to people who are Black and African American. I felt honored to walk beside people of color and many other representatives of diversity in a peaceful protest in Coatesville, PA last week to Voice injustice and chant a shared Vision of the future.
At the Outreach and Education Advisory Board meeting on June 1st, we had the chance to listen, to honor people who are Black or African American, and pray for healing and reconciliation. We also discussed work we can do to address racial injustice and to bring help and healing. Some of the work includes offering listening platforms through various mediums and conducting webinars and online meetings about trauma, grief, mental health, addictions, racial reconciliation, and access to care and treatment. The Advisory Board is eager to implement new work in this third year of the initiative. At the end of the meeting, a member read the following Facebook post by Reverend Robert G. Johnson pastor of Saint Mark United Methodist Church posted on May 29th:
“For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is not just a coincidence that during this global pandemic of a disease that has the distinguishing symptom of making it difficult to breathe, and that is impacting African Americans, disproportionately, that our country is “on fire” with rage after the senseless death of an unarmed black man who died, moaning, “I can’t breathe.” A dark spirit has been released in (invited into) America, and it’s trying to choke the life out of us. This coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, and more than ever before, we need God’s Breath, the Wind of God, the Holy Spirit, to fall upon us, fill us, and send a cleansing, restoring “breeze” across our lands. We can’t breathe, but “breathe on us, O, Breath of God.”
The response to the post was: “Amen, and George Floyd – let it be that you did not die in vain.”
Death at the hands of inequality, hatred, and racism must stop. I am terribly saddened thinking about so many lives cut short. I grieve with George Floyd’s family, friends, his community, and all who loved him. I pray for the healing of trauma caused by racism and for all who witnessed the murder and those impacted by ongoing violent protests. I want to be a part of a movement of change impacting the major spheres of influence – education, family, religion, government, healthcare, media, arts/entertainment, and business/commerce – to honor diversity and bring justice, righteousness, equality, and peace.
To everyone who reads this, let’s agree: George Floyd: You did not die in vain.
It is up to each of us to ensure his life and destiny live on!
Pictured in cover photo: Valerie Melroy with Outreach and Education Regional Leader, Pastor Kevin Hunt with his wife, First Lady Lynette, and two of their daughters, Tranae Hunt, and Elder Lyneesha Johnson at the Coatesville Protest.
Please note: The views and opinions expressed by the authors on the blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Voice and Vision, Inc. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.