In response to the violent killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, MN, students in Professor Eleazar Fernandez's Public Theology for Social Transformation class worked together to write this statement. We share it as a reminder that the work of theology is always grounded in lived human experience and that calls for justice remain fundamental for people of all faiths.
Our Response to the Killing of George Floyd
We are a class of seminary students from a broad array of faith traditions, races, ages, genders, and sexual orientations, studying Public Theology for Social Transformation at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in Saint Paul, MN. We feel urgently called to add our voices to the demand for justice for George Floyd.
Black people have been forced to endure the horrific toll of being black in the United States of America due to centuries of overt and insidious white supremacy permitting and even encouraging racist actions, words, and policies. If you are a member of the black community, you understand this pain all too well. If you are not, put yourself in the shoes of your black neighbors - if that was your loved one, son, daughter, husband, wife, father or mother on the ground with a knee on their neck in such a violent and unjustified manner, how would that make you feel? We reject all forms of white supremacy. We must end this injustice once and for all.
The fact that being black was a death sentence for George Floyd in our own state of Minnesota is a tragedy and a travesty. We are outraged and soul-sick about the killing of George Floyd by law enforcement officers charged to serve and protect all citizens. We demand that law enforcement be investigated rigorously for their actions and held accountable to the full extent of their culpability. We also demand decisive and comprehensive action from our local governments to reform the systems permitting these racist acts to occur. We commit to doing what we can and must as a citizenry to dismantle the informal social structures that support systemic racism.
Our faith traditions tell us that each life is equally precious and valuable, that justice is an inherent quality of the divine, and that justice compels us to transform our world so that all within the family of humankind are treated equitably with dignity and respect. We mourn George Floyd’s death, and extend our prayers to his family and friends. We call upon all within the family of humankind to end the injustices repeatedly inflicted upon black people due to the evils of white supremacy and racism, and to transform themselves, their communities, and our shared world so that the blessings of justice are freely and fully afforded to all.
The Students of ST1002 Public Theology for Social Transformation
United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
Saint Paul, Minnesota
For more, see United's official statement in response to the killing of George Floyd.