For immediate release
IN RESPONSE TO CONVICTION OF DEREK CHAUVIN FOR MURDER
For further information contact:
Jen Simon, Minister to The Mountain Top UU
We breathed a sigh of relief, with others worldwide who want a more just and equitable world, when the verdict of guilty for the murder of George Floyd was announced in Minneapolis on April 20, 2021. This was a rare conviction, amidst a system of policing born from white supremacy, the system of policing that began in this country for tracking down those fleeing enslavement.
Colorado Unitarian Universalists United for Racial Justice affirms the convictions, while recognizing that there is more work for us all to do and it does not change much on the ground. Only days after the verdict being announced, the country mourns the young life of Daunte Wright being cut short after being murdered by police. The verdict in Minneapolis does not relieve us of our outrage and heartbreak for the continued slaughter of black and brown bodies by police, most often with impunity.
This guilty verdict does not bring back those murdered by police in Colorado: De’Von Bailey, Elijah McClain, Frank Lobato, William Debose, George Allan, Jessie Hernandez, Marvin Booker, Michael Lee Marshall, Naeschylus Carter-Vinzant, Odecia Valencia-Lopez, Paul Castaway, Paul Childs, Ryan Ronquillo, William Debose, and others. It reminds us of the words of Unitarian abolitionist, Theodore Parker, that the moral arc of the universe is long and bends toward justice.
“The depth of the relief I felt upon hearing the guilty verdict reminded me how deeply I carry the trauma of this murder and so many others in my soul,” said Rev. Dr. Elaine Beth Peresluha, Developmental Minister, First Universalist Church of Denver. “It is essential that white people realize that the violence and death perpetrated on black and brown bodies is not theirs alone to carry. This is not just the problem of people of color. It is a problem for all of us. This verdict does not change the reality we live in. It does give us one inch of solid ground on which to take the next steps, together. None of us are free until all of us are free.”
We, siblings of many colors, recognize the complexity of this moment. Only through tremendous resistance and resilience, only through courage and endurance beyond what should be necessary, do those with brown and black skin continue to thrive in this country ridden with gun violence and police brutality. Our hearts are with the family and friends of George Floyd, and all those whose lives have been cut short by the racism and lethality of law enforcement. We are in solidarity with those committed to ending these systemic harms.
Our faith is rooted in a courageous heart that calls us into a renewed commitment to end systemic racial injustice. We recognize that there have been too many deaths, too many vigils, too many protests, too much grief, and too much rage. The continued killing of unarmed people of color must stop. #BlackLivesMatter.
Colorado Unitarian Universalist Faith Leaders, United for Racial Justice
Unitarian Universalists comprise over 1000 congregations across the country. The UURJ represents a cluster of seven congregations and four emerging ministries from the front range of Colorado. As Unitarian Universalist religious professionals, we are called to create a more just and equitable world by upholding the inherent worth and dignity of all people.