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In the last year 558 people have been killed by the police in just 2016 alone. That’s more than one person a day. That feels like an astonishing number.
My social media circles today are participating in the faithful ritual of public lamenting and crying out in anguish for the 558th person killed the early in the morning on July 5, 2016, Mr. Alton Sterling. Another black man killed by the cops. As Jesse Williams recently said in his acceptance speech “The police manage to de-escalate, disarm, and not kill white people everyday.” Or as another friend, and colleague in ministery said on his facebook today, “Black Lives Still Struggling to Matter in America.”
The Belhar Confession makes it pretty clear that this is of ecclesiastical integrity for us. We must be concerned about the disproportionate ratio of people of color killed at the hands of law enforcement. The “church must therefore stand by people in any form of suffering and need, which implies, among other things, that the church must witness against and strive against any form of injustice, so that justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Justice is a faith issue. Racial equality is a matter of faith.
Mr. Sterling we speak your name. Your family we see and we will work for justice and mercy. To my siblings in Christ in the Reformed Church who are people of color, Black Lives Matter here in this church. We will work to end the sin of racism, personal and systematic. Today we lament with Mr. Sterling’s family.
Alton Sterling, may you rest in peace and rise in power.