The murder of George Floyd on May 20, 2020, still brings tears and anger to me—tears because of our nation’s inability to stop racism and anger because I can still see the smirk on Derek Chauvin’s face as he executes a Black man. The next sad image that comes to mind is of the other three police calmly standing by and watching the execution. This incident brought a new low to our country.
As with so many police executions, the people who are sworn to protect and serve are allowed to go free after murdering a person. But this one was different. A huge segment of our country said, “Enough is enough!” There were peaceful demonstrations as well as some angry ones whose participants felt the need to loot, steal, and destroy. One part of me understands how that happens. Oftentimes, anger begets violence. But another part, the much bigger one, says nonviolence is almost always the better approach for resolving issues.
The execution of George Floyd did this.
Police brutality in this country needs to stop. The immediate response was a call to defund the police. With passing time and reevaluation, I might reframe that to “refund the police,” but the important issue brought to the forefront is the role of police in our society. It has to change from urban army to officers of the peace.
The murder of George Floyd did this.
Too many of the laws in this country are aimed at keeping the poor poorer, the prisons full (to make money), lawyers rich, and people of color uneducated and incarcerated. We are now seeing a few lawyers running for office who believe that retributive punishment simply keeps the revolving door of injustice going round and round. They want to change the laws and justice system to stop this charade.
The death of George Floyd has started this ball rolling.
I am involved in a movement called “Christians for the Abolishing of Prisons.” It may sound wacko and utopian, but in the future I want to share some information about this concept. Basically, this movement wants to change the horrendous model of punishment in our society with a model of rehabilitation. I see progressive faith-based religions being the foundation of this idea.
Thanks, George, for helping us open our eyes to how we are failing too many of our citizens, especially those of color. You are a saint in my eyes.
I am reminded of a young Jewish lad who also was executed some two thousand years ago because he threatened people. The religious leaders thought they were rid of that pest, but two thousand later Jesus is still “speaking.”
George Floyd was murdered simply because of who he was. He was a good human being but, like all the rest of us, with a few flaws. I am hoping that like my Jewish friend from Nazareth, who spoke louder dead than alive, George will keep speaking about freedom and justice for all.
Long live the image of my newest saint, George Floyd. I am here to help him do this life-changing work.
Peace Love Joy Hope
Photo courtesy of Chad Davis (CC BY-SA 2.0)