Grace to you and peace from God our Creator, Deliverer, and Sustainer,
Like many of you, we watched the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. We awaited the jury’s verdict with a combination of anticipation, anxiety, and apprehension. The cell phone video from outside Cup Foods disturbed all of us greatly, and it was particularly difficult to watch it repeatedly during the trial. At times, we wanted to look away or find another channel for those excruciating nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds. While disturbing, it is important to keep watch and see what really happened on May 25, 2020. Seeing these atrocities is the first step in working for substantive change in eliminating systemic racism and violence.
After nearly eleven months of waiting, the three guilty verdicts elicited relief and not celebration. Just as many could not comprehend the brutality of the murder, others could not believe the jury handed down a guilty verdict. We remember the many times and places equal justice was delayed and denied. It is a start, but our work is by no means finished.
According to the Hebrew scriptures, when God delivered the people from the hands of their enemies, the prophet Samuel set a stone of remembrance to commemorate God’s intervention for, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12, NRSV.) This week’s verdict in Minneapolis is a chance to “raise an Ebenezer,” but it does not mean we have arrived home yet. Accountability is not the same thing as justice, and the Dismantling Race and White Privilege (DRAWP) team will continue combating structural and systemic racism.
There is still much righteous work to be done before we can consider celebrating. The end of this trial is not the cessation of the cause but heavenly manna, divine daily bread, for those hungering and thirsting for righteousness (Matthew 5:6.) DRAWP welcomes anyone who is willing to work for a more just society to join us https://glpby.org/services/drap/. We covet your prayers and help in loving, learning, and leading our presbytery to reconciliation.
In Hope and Confidence,
Rev. Dr. Dave Burgess and Rev. Travis Winckler