I was disgusted and angry over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota on 25th May 2020. He was killed at the knee of a police office using unreasonable force to detain George, and despite George crying out “I can’t breathe!” the officer continued to kneel on him for over eight minutes. Another two officers were restraining George with yet another preventing the crowd from intervening.
I can understand the anger of the crowd seeing police officers using unreasonable force to restrain a non-violent person, but what makes this worse is the fact that George Floyd was a man of colour. It is very sad that a person’s colour can influence the way they are treated by society as well as police officers in the US. Had George been white, would he have received such rough treatment?
What followed on from this terrible tragedy, recorded on mobile phones and published on the Internet, initially started with a demonstration against the perceived systemic racism in the US police departments. However, this developed into a wider demonstration against race inequality and historical figures linked to the slave trade. What was once a just demonstration against the treatment of people of colour has lost its way as others have sort to use the opportunity to air other grievances.
Additionally, the demonstrators have been infiltrated by thugs and vandals who have used the peaceful public demonstration to riot; the initial cause lost by the dreadful scenes we now see in cities around the world.
I truly believe that racism should be eradicated. I also believe in equal opportunities for all no matter what race, colour, creed or sexual bias, but we cannot attain that goal through violence and vandalism. That will only polarize society and cause greater division in our communities. We must come together in peace to air our grievances to those in authority to demonstrate the support for change, without violence, without vandalism. That is the only way we will be able to honour the death of George Floyd and many others who have suffered at the hands of others.
I am reminded of a Martin Luther King’s great speech “I have a dream”. His words repeated below.
“But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” Martin Luther King.
Let us pray for unity and love for one another so that we can mend our society and live in peace. May God work in the hearts of our policymakers and authorities to stamp out racism and promote equality.
Let us remember those who have died at the hands of violence and lift their families and loved ones to the Lord and His care.
Lord, in your mercy, here our prayer!