Statement from Gamaliel on behalf of George Floyd and the many others whose deaths were denied justice
Justice may be blind, but justice apparently is not colorblind. Too often and for far too long people of color have been on the wrong side of justice because purveyors of justice, often White, have used their privilege to lift the proverbial blindfold over one eye and make judgments based on the skin color of both victim and perpetrator.
It is particularly unnerving, unconscionable, pernicious, and intractable when the perpetrator(s) continue(s) to be members of law enforcement, notably the largest violent gang in America. Since the inception of slave patrols, “law enforcement” has been able to manhandle and mishandle people of color, particularly African Americans, with impunity. Those who have tried to introduce reforms within the police rank and file have been met with cynicism, sarcasm, rebuke, and sometime firings.
Brianna Taylor was murdered; George Floyd was murdered; Eric Garner was murdered; Danquirs Franklin was murdered! Armand Aubrey was murdered and too many other Black men and women were murdered with the denial of justice. We don’t need White people to get woke for one can be awoke but not aware. We need them to be self-conscious and convicted in their own privilege and complicity, to the point where they are willing to make the same corrective sacrifices that took the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Mark Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Viola Liuzzo. Only then can we begin to dismantle racist structures.
Every District Attorney in this country who in their cowardice will not prosecute rogue officers should resign or be fired at the ballot box. When officers like Derek Chauvin, who can remain on the force with numerous accusations of misconduct on his/her record, it indicates something is wrong with the system. But that news is not new. Did it require the death of George Floyd to finally lead to Chauvin’s firing? What will stop the next Derek Chauvin?
The answer is a murder charge, conviction, and a just sentence. That is what will send a strong message to all who want to mishandle and mistreat Black and Brown individuals and turn a blind eye to White suspects guilty of doing far more. As long as this nonsense continues, we will invoke the people of faith to call on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Ishmael and the One who is one with Jesus Christ to execute justice where we seem to continually fall short.
One final note—Gamaliel’s Minnesota affiliate Asamblea de Derechos Civiles is on the front line in Minneapolis. Please pray for and invest in the success of their organizing in this community ravaged by violence and racism and desperately in need of justice.
May justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty river!
Rev. Dr. John C. Welch, Chair, Gamaliel Board of Directors
Statements from Gamaliel Affiliates
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National Strategic Priorities
Gamaliel affiliates work on local and state issues that are agreed upon in a democratic process. National issues are chosen through a national issue process established by the Council of Presidents that involves a vote by all Gamaliel member organizations. Currently, Gamaliel’s national issues are:
Gamaliel is an Organizing and Training Institute
The Gamaliel Network been established to train leaders and organizers for the increasingly difficult task of building strong, stable and effective institutionally-based power organizations that can transform congregations and communities.