I have been thinking how best to address all of you regarding the events surrounding the murder of George Floyd at the hands of some Minneapolis policemen and the aftermath of protest and violence the last several nights in Minneapolis and St. Paul. I wanted to reach out to you because we are a community that believes in peace and justice and fair treatment for all our brothers and sisters–we are a community of love and care and at a time like this, we need to know that we are united. Please know of my love and care for each of you and my promise of prayer that at this time of Pentecost, the Spirit of our brother Jesus would show us the best and most needed responses in this time of crisis.
I listened as some of you may have to our state leaders; the governor, lieutenant governor, our state senators, attorney general, as well as faith leaders from across denominations in the Twin Cities speak at a noon news conference today* with a great deal of compassion and concern about the rising crisis in Minneapolis and St. Paul over the past few nights. They have made the point of letting us know that the people causing the destruction at present are not those people who are legitimately grieving the loss of yet another black brother, but anarchist types who have an entirely different agenda, and aren’t, for the most part, even from Minnesota and are taking advantage of this sad time.
With that in mind, the governor and all others present at the news conference who spoke were imploring the people of St. Paul and Minneapolis to stay home tonight, to abide by the 8 p.m. curfew and keep off the streets so that those who are bent on destruction can be apprehended. The work of justice can’t be accomplished until the violence stops Governor Walz let us know. Everyone present who spoke impressed upon their communities of faith and neighborhoods that “tomorrow” would come and that this issue of racism, laid so bare by this most recent example of brutality, would be addressed and that the help of everyone would be needed for that most important work.
A time like this calls forth a response from us–many of us want to do something to show our support. One of the pastors suggested that folks in Minneapolis and St. Paul go home tonight at 8 p.m. and pray as the best way to express their support. We all have different ways of showing our support–some of us can write letters, make calls in order that this issue, not die. Maybe this time, along with what we have learned of the inequities in our country for those who are poor, black, or both, in this time of pandemic, along with the racism clearly exposed in the too frequent deaths of blacks by policemen in our state and country due to the color of their skin will finally, finally bring much needed change. Another something that you may want to partake in tomorrow at 4 p.m. is a car caravan for peace and justice, sponsored by the Winona Interfaith Council, starting at the high school, driving through the streets of Winona in support of all that is good and with hope of a better future for all of us. Whatever you choose to do friends, choose to do something. This issue is the responsibility of all of us.
My love and support for each of you–Peace, Pastor Kathy
* I would you suggest if you didn’t hear this news conference, going on-line to listen to the many speakers from the governor on down–about one hour and 15 minutes–well worth the time.