FAITHFULLY WAITING FOR A VERDICT
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We write to you during the hours in which we and all Americans await the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial for the killing of George Floyd. We have been here before. Waiting and watching as juries deliberate is the way in which we as citizens most directly engage the judicial process, and the stakes are always high. In a real sense, every case and every verdict puts our judicial system again to the test, and the issuing of verdicts makes a witness to the quality of justice in America before the whole world. That is manifestly true in this case. The killing of George Floyd precipitated protests across the United States and across the world. The trial of Derek Chauvin is as grave as any we have ever seen. Now we watch to witness and assess the capacity of the American judicial system to meet the need which all people have for justice. African Americans particularly have lived with the long experience of seeing the courts fail them again and again and by those failures devalue their lives and losses. Whatever the verdict, there will be an aftermath.
This case and this verdict matter. What comes now will go to the heart of how we remember and honor the life and the death of George Floyd. But it is our prayer that, whatever verdict comes, we may as a people remain steadfast in our commitment to work for racial justice. Let us pray for the safety of all people in the hours and days to come. In the Diocese of New York, our commitment to racial justice remains absolute. We believe that the charge to care for the poor and oppressed, to proclaim the equality and dignity of all people, and to work tirelessly for the reconciliation of people is at the heart of gospel justice. And we believe that the civil and human rights work of this diocese is inseparable from the Christian faith we embrace and the Lord who calls us into a shared common life. We do not know what will come in the days ahead. Nevertheless we are committed, and we call you, to work for peace, to never return evil for evil, to never flag in our commitment to justice, especially to racial justice, and to honor the life we share as Christians and Episcopalians across our two hundred churches. Whatever comes, let us recommit to our work on reparations for slavery and on anti-racism education, and strive for the justice and peace commended to us by Christ, that we may go forward together, as one people, brave and strong and faithful for the work we have been given to do. With every good wish, we remain