Friday, July 8, 2016

Baton Rouge, St Paul, Dallas

To all of you who were students in the Civil Rights and Religion Class,

I wanted to write to you this morning as the news following the killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philando Castile in St Paul and four police officers in Dallas.

I want to share with you my grief and horror over these events.

We spent the Spring semester studying the recent history of race in America . As a result, we have done some important work that should help us have a nuanced understanding of the way these events unfold and in particular, the way different people react to news stories of white police officers killing black men and snipers targeting police officers.

Because of our studies, I believe that we are particularly responsible to be salt and light in the days ahead.

Three verses of scripture come to my mind:

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
There are people mourning the death of children, husbands, and fathers today. There are communities filled with grief. We need to stand with them, pray with them and bring them comfort.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
We understand the context in which these terrible events are playing out -- we should be alongside those crying out for people to do the right thing: to work for justice. Over the coming days and weeks you will hear people offer all kinds of simplistic explanations and solutions. Remember all we learned about the nature of our racialized society -- remember there are bad apples, bad barrels and bad barrel makers. You have an obligation and opportunity to bring sanity and insight into these conversations
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
I am deeply concerned by the potential that these events have to lead to more anger, violence and hatred. As we work for justice I pray that we would be peacemakers of a lasting peace.

I am proud of you all and the work we did together,

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