Today, we remember the catastrophic death of George Floyd. Racism is once again in the forefront of America. This anniversary of the high profile murder of an American Black man stirs our emotions yet again. Hopefully we can find it in our hearts to seek healing from our broken hearts by seeking God’s help.
As the family of George Floyd gathered in Minneapolis over the weekend, expecting to meet with President Biden in the White House today to mark the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s murder at the hands of former police officer Derek Chauvin, I have been praying for eyes to become opened. We need God’s help to break through the hate and pain.
In a rare example of swift justice, Chauvin has been tried and convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He is in prison awaiting sentencing; a 40-year term is possible.
A measure of justice has prevailed; bringing some comfort to the Floyd family; and help in the healing of our nation as well. Yes, the sentencing of Chauvin and the prayerfully peaceful marches today are steps in the right direction. Yet, there is so much more to be done.
In America and around the world, we need to acknowledge that racism exists, and repent from racism across the board, then sincerely apologize to each other for hating each other, and work together to repair the breach.
“We must learn to live together as brothers [and sisters], and not perish together as fools.” ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
After George was killed last year, I reached out to his family to say I had some idea of their pain. I know it’s terrible to lose a family member to violence, to have to grieve publicly. I was 17 years old when I got my first lesson on that when my uncle, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot to death.
The next year my father was strangled, beaten and thrown into a pool. The medical examiner found no water in his lungs, so that was not suicide or accidental drowning. That was murder.
I was 23 when my grandmother, Alberta Williams King, was shot as she played organ during Sunday morning services at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. My family and I were like the members of the Floyd family – bewildered, broken-hearted and expected to inspire a nation as we blazed a path forward.
I commended George’s brother Terrence last year for calling on protesters to resist violence. It’s what my grandfather, Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., did after both of his sons and his wife were killed. It’s what my father did when our house was firebombed, with all of us inside.
Hate fueled all of these acts of violence, including the murder of George Floyd.
What we need to do now as a nation is put aside hate and find a different way to proceed. There will always be injustice because we are all human, we are all sinners.
But what we are not is different races. We are different colors and as a result, we have experienced different realities. A Black teen growing up in an inner city has little in common with a White teen in a wealthy enclave. The reality of a Black baby in the womb also can be very different from that of a White baby, with the Black baby several times more likely to die by abortion before ever having a birth day. But even that doesn’t change the fact that we are one race, one blood. There can only be one critical race theory and that is for the one human race.
This firm belief in Acts 17:26 – God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth – is what prompted Ginger Howard and I to reach out to each other across this socially constructed racial divide to write We’re Not Colorblind. It’s a message I share whenever I am given a platform. I’m happy to have a chance to do it today, as our screens are likely filled yet again with the video of George Floyd’s last moments, a video that became unforgettable to me and the rest of the nation with just one viewing.
In many ways we are still segregated in our nation, sometimes by circumstance, sometimes by choice. My prayer today is that we learn to be kinder to all humanity; from the womb to the tomb.
It’s also my prayer that today we all take a moment to reach out to a one race, one blood human being we otherwise might have overlooked or shunned and say simply, “I love you. God bless you. Peace.”
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.