Sometimes a burden is so great it must be shared. The recent reporting of racist acts across the country has moved us to reach out to our community to express outrage and sadness.
In recent weeks, we have heard stories of Black men and women being murdered and threatened essentially for their Blackness: In Georgia, Ahmaud Arbery was out for a run when he was chased and shot by white men who claimed they thought he might be a burglary suspect. In Minneapolis, George Floyd was pinned to the ground by a white police officer while he fought for his last breaths, crying “I can’t breathe,” in an echo of Eric Garner, who was similarly killed by white police officers in New York City six years ago. Breonna Taylor was shot in her own Louisville, Kentucky home when police officers executed a “no-knock” search warrant. And over the weekend in Central Park—right here in our own backyard—a white woman exercised her sense of privilege to call the police and allege that Christian Cooper, who had merely asked her to put her dog on a leash, was threatening her, pointedly emphasizing the fact that he was African American in her increasingly dramatic calls for help.
These horrific and overtly racist acts violate everything we believe at MMFS. Our Quaker values teach us to live by Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Service. In the face of these outrageous acts of racism—and these are just the ones that have surfaced in the news—we must respond. We seek peace in terms of justice. We feel compelled to act with integrity. We call on the community to act on the testimony of service as we strive for equality.
Even as we deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in our homes and our city, even as we absorb the awful news of 100,000 deaths across the country, we must still summon our humanity and outrage, and challenge ourselves to be part of bringing about change. Here are some actions we can take as individuals. Please let us know if you come across other things that we can do.
- The attorney for the Floyd family is asking supporters to call Minneapolis DA Mike Freeman at 612-348-5550 and tell him to arrest and charge these officers for the murder of George Floyd.
- Students can participate in the IRunWithMaud campaign for justice, starting with a June 2 Zoom event with Ahmaud Arbery’s mother as well as “IRunWithMaud” committee members and Pastor John Richards. They’ll discuss with students and school communities across the country their perspectives on systemic racism, policing, accountability, and justice in America and what each of us can actively do to seek justice and create change.
It is part of our mission to help our students work through these awful and frightening events. If your children would like help understanding or processing what they’re hearing in the news, our counseling team is ready to help.
Thank you for being part of this effort to live our Quaker values and become an anti-racist community.
In friendship and outrage,
Debbie, Beth, and Tatesha