In these last few days, we have watched, in shock and horror, what has been happening in the United States.
Protesters have spilled out across America following the death of George Floyd, whose last moments, captured on phone video, as a police officer knelt on his neck, set fire to long-simmering concerns about police brutality against the Black community.
Back home, Canadians have also taken to the streets in solidarity, with leaders quick to dispel what they say are misconceptions that racial tensions only exist in the U.S. “Racism exists in Canada. Anti-Black racism exists in Canada. Police brutality exists in Canada,” read signs at a protest that drew thousands in Toronto on Saturday. It was led by the family of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a Black woman who fell to her death after police responded to a call at her home last week.
A Minneapolis police officer is facing charges in connection with Floyd’s death, while the full details of Korchinski-Paquet’s death remain unclear and are the subject of an investigation by Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit. Regardless, the leaders in Canada’s Black community say the incidents have again exposed an undercurrent of racism that must be addressed in Canada.
Jesus has given us so many examples of how the fear-based, hate-filled human injustices of racism and discrimination go against the very will and purpose of God. Jesus calls us to love our neighbours and our enemies (Matthew 5: 44; Luke 6:27; Luke 6:35). The story Jesus tells of the Good Samaritan teaches us how to do that. Jesus shows us that we must not look away or avoid the suffering of others, but instead we get into the ditch with them, tend to their wounds, and do whatever we can to offer healing by showing love, dignity and respect to those who have been dehumanized. Jesus calls us to follow the example of Good Samaritan, and Go and Do Likewise – that is, put God’s mercy and compassion into action.
Today, in this broken world, and with our broken hearts, I invite your prayers to join with mine, as we pray for deep peace in the Human Family that is part of God’s Creation.
For Peace in the Human Family
in love you have fashioned the human family
in a variety of races, languages, and cultures.
Do not let our diversity divide us,
but help us to welcome gifts
we can give and receive from one another.
Save us from prejudice, arrogance and fear,
and teach us how to live together
as members of one family,
sharing one home,
and the children of one God. Amen.