Read the full issue of this week’s newsletter here.
In this week’s issue, Rev. Ruth MacKenzie writes:
Last Sunday I preached about getting comfortable with grief. Little did I know how prescient that topic would be. This week our community got a taste of what it is like to live in the storm of grief. Justine Damond was a neighbor to some of our members; her death occurred just down the block from their homes. There was no way to hold this incident of police violence at arm’s length, or go about daily life as usual. Everything stopped, and grief had its way with us.
For some of us this is a first-time experience of police violence in the heart of our community, and the waves of confusion and grief are surprising. For others, Justine Damond’s death is a complex navigation of grief, anger, exhaustion and more, because police violence has been visited on you, your family, your people far too many times. To be black or brown-skinned in this country means your humanity is under constant attack, and grief is your constant companion.
The death of Justine, and Jamar, and Philando, is not about an individual police officer’s bad action or that any of these people behaved in such a way deserving of this ultimate penalty. It is about the institution and practice of policing that we need to address together, and the frameworks of racism that feed and perpetuate tragedy after tragedy.
As the media does as the media will do, hold fast to our racial justice work, and anchor your spirit to the constitution of our faith, the inherent worth and dignity of every human being and the interconnectedness of all things. If you are a white person, amplify the voices of leaders of color who are helping us all understand the connections between white supremacy and the norms of policing. If you are a person of color, connect with others who make room for the complexity of your grieving response.
Our hearts are heavy. Our tears are flowing. Our work as a community committed to racial justice is real. Our call as religious peoples is to move toward the hurt, together, grounded in faith, tested in the work of justice and held in rituals of care, in order to create a real and flourishing life for ourselves, our faith community, our city, and for this world.
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie