Statement from the Clergy of Medfield…
As clergy of Medfield representing our various churches, we write to express our horror and deep sorrow at the killing of George Floyd. His death is another marker in the long line of murders, ill-treatment, and systematic injustice that black Americans have experienced and continue to experience in our present society. We decry the racism that fuels this injustice and seems to go underground rather than withering away after an event like this, only to reemerge again with all of its virulence. It is little wonder that so many protests have erupted across our nation. The black American community’s frustration at past injustices, at bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, and at being viewed with suspicion by so many is now on full display.
It is time to listen. It is time to examine how each of us views those different from ourselves. If “riots are the language of the unheard”, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so clearly stated many years ago, let us seize the opportunity to listen to black Americans and all people of color in our society and to hear their pain and their anger. We will never change as individuals or as a society until we listen closely and carefully to the injustices that black Americans experience, and the evil it creates; and then demonstrate the will to make things right.
There may be a temptation to dismiss the protests themselves as some of them devolved into riots, or to claim they should not have happened because of social distancing restrictions. If we do, however, we will once again not have listened “to the language of the unheard,” and we will fail to change course and institute justice for all. We must work together to fight institutional racism for us to defeat this deadly scourge.
Each of us has a part to play. Our society has grown more segregated over the last 50 years. As reported by the Washington Post, 75% of white Americans do not have a person of color in their social circle. Ending racism will require building relationships across difference. We encourage you to support charities and small businesses owned by black Americans. Listening may involve some travel, and it may raise the question, “What obstacles exist that prevent more people of color living in my community?”
As we continue to mourn the death of George Floyd, let us acknowledge the racism that lies at the root of his death. Let us look within ourselves and confront any trace of prejudice we find in our own hearts, and vow to live what both our faith and our country profess, that we are all created equal. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated so eloquently, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Rev. Dr. Philip J. Bauman, Senior Pastor, United Church of Christ Medfield
The Rev. Marc G. Eames, Rector, The Church of the Advent
Rev. Dave Egan, Minister, First Parish Unitarian Universalist
Hunter Guthrie, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church
Rev. Stephen P. Zukas, Pastor, Saint Edward the Confessor Parish