“George Floyd’s words, ‘I can’t breathe,’ continue to ring in our ears.”

Racism protest in Halifax, June 1, 2020
Protesters in Halifax demonstrate against police action in the death of George Floyd and others. Monday, June 1, 2020..
Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Published On: June 2, 2020

In response to the demonstrations across the United States and Canada in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the Anglican Church of Canada, and The United Church of Canada have issued a joint letter.

They write, “It is important for church members in our largely white churches to look at how we continue to perpetuate anti-Black racism, either inadvertently or intentionally. George Floyd’s words, ‘I can’t breathe,’ continue to ring in our ears; they act as a prophetic voice of the pain and re-traumatization that is coming from peoples of African descent again and again.”

In March, these same church leaders sent a letter asking churches to engage with the International Decade for People of African Descent. This new letter offers tangible ways for individuals and congregations to begin conversations and really listen to the stories that emerge.

Moderator Richard Bott adds: “I am asking people in the United Church to delve into this topic individually and at church boards. If we don’t look at this issue and realize we are part of the problem, we can’t be part of the solution. This is the work of White members of the church, and the time has come to commit ourselves to this work, for everyone’s sake.”

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