In wake of Zimmerman acquittal,
NCC renews call for racial justice
Washington, July 15, 2013 – National Council of Churches President Kathryn Lohre has released the following statement following the acquittal of George Zimmerman:
In the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal of the murder of Trayvon Martin, the National Council of Churches joins other people of faith and conscience in a renewed call for racial justice.
This summer as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we are reminded that racism is alive and well. We have seen this in the Supreme Court’s recent invalidation of parts of the Voting Rights Act and now in the shocking impunity granted by a Florida jury to a man who stalked and killed a black child.
But even when the headlines fade, we witness every day in our neighborhoods, towns, and cities how our culture of violence preys upon all of us, with the most deadly impact on the lives of people of color. According to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, in an average year, 100,000 Americans are shot or killed with a gun.
Every day (on average) 300 Americans are victims of gun violence, with 85 lives taken daily as a result. African Americans make up nearly 13 percent of the U.S. population, but in 2009 suffered almost 24 percent of all firearm deaths – and over 54 percent of all firearm homicides, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. We confess our complicity and seek anew to live our lives according to the example of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.
In these days, and in the months to come, we join in prayer for the family and friends of Trayvon Martin, for George Zimmerman and his family and friends, for the members of the jury and their family and friends, and for all who have suffered and will continue to suffer as a result of this tragedy.
The day after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, we, acknowledged “the tragic reality that exists for young men of color and their families who, because of their appearance, fear they will be victims of violence at the hands of police and others.” As we seek to honor the memory of Trayvon Martin, we are called to action to protect the lives of all from fear, violence, racism, and injustice.
May God lead us to live with one another as Jesus taught us: not as strangers who shrink from one another in fear, but as neighbors who reach out to one another with empathy and compassion.
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.
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