Black Anglicans of Canada Statement on the One Year Anniversary of the Death of George Floyd
Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an everflowing stream.
May 25th, 2021 marks one year since George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer while other police officers looked on. In the days and weeks to follow, the world became aware of this heinous act, with many viewing and responding to the shocking viral video footage.
A global protest movement soon followed. In the United States, here in Canada, and elsewhere, this painful episode proved to be a catalyst for long overdue conversations about policing, racism, and inequality. More recently, the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin on the charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter has captured the public’s attention once again. While the trauma of George Floyd’s murder remains with us, we see reasons for hope in the awakening that has happened across our continent and around the globe.
While much of the world reacted to George Floyd’s death with shock, the sad truth is that it came as no great surprise to many people of the African Diaspora. We have always been conscious of the impact of privilege and power on marginalized peoples, the ongoing sin of systemic racism, the complicity of our leaders (Christian and other) in systems of oppression, and the dubiousness of broader societies’ claims that all lives, in fact, matter. We have been crying out for justice for years, decades, centuries.
We pray for God’s peace to enfold the family and friends of George Floyd as they continue to grieve the loss of their loved one. We pray for healing for all people who have been traumatized or re-traumatized by last year’s horrific events, especially individuals and communities of Black, African, and Caribbean heritage. We continue to pray that our society’s dedication to meaningful change to address racism and inequality will be real and sustained, outlasting the vicissitudes of news cycles. We pray for those leaders (including the Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada) who expressed a commitment to racial justice and equality, to feel emboldened and empowered to carry through with this important work regardless of the resistance they may encounter. We pray for the important racial justice initiatives of the church to continue through the efforts of bodies such as the Black Anglicans of Canada, the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, the Dismantling Racism Task Force of our national church, and all those committed to the Fourth Mark of Mission. We pray for all law enforcement officers and elected officials in authority to exercise their powers for the good of all people and not for the maintenance of a system rooted in inequality. We pray for all members of our communities to continue caring about the progress of the movement towards racial justice in every sphere of society.
We pray for all Christians, at every level of laity and clergy, to lean into our baptismal call, repent of our involvement in systems of oppression, to know better, and to do better, in the name of our living, loving, and liberating God. We pray that concrete and sustainable actions will result from the eighteen demands made by Black Anglicans of Canada to address anti-Black racism in the Diocese of Toronto specifically.
After the murder of George Floyd, Black Anglicans hosted a prayer gathering to lament his killing, followed by thirteen webinars on anti-Black racism in Canada, all of which are still available on our YouTube channel at no charge. We gratefully accept financial gifts which enable us to carry on this urgent work of lament and truth telling. Please donate at www.blackanglicans/donation.
May our church reclaim the radical equality, diversity, justice and love that descended at Pentecost in the birthing of the church, the Beloved Community of Jesus, where “there is no longer Jew or Gentile, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”