By Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink (read the full issue of this week’s Liberal here)
Shocked. Enraged. Grieving. Heartbroken.
Like many of you today, I’ve been moving through a range of strong emotions after learning of Philando Castile’s murder by police in Falcon Heights last night. His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter, Dae’Anna, witnessed his death by gunshot after they were pulled over for a broken taillight. This horror stunned me, coming just the day after Alton Sterling was murdered by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
In the company of fellow members of our congregation, I brought my broken heart to the rally at the Governor’s Residence in St. Paul today. Through powerful personal stories, prayer, and impassioned calls to action, the gathered community grieved, raged, and organized.
How many more shootings will it take? How many more videos? How many more children must be traumatized by violence?
The time to start believing what we’re seeing is now.
Now is the time to work together to end the ongoing police violence against people of color, especially African American men.
Now is the time to collectively dismantle the systemic racism that hurts us all.
And this is OUR system to change.
In the words of Pastor Danny Givens, “There is no such thing as other people’s children.”
Tonight, along with the Rev. Jen Crow and a good number of First Universalist members, I will bring my broken heart to JJ Hill Montessori Magnet School (998 Selby Ave in St. Paul) at 5:30 p.m. for a vigil in the school’s garden area. I would love to see you there.
This Sunday, I will bring my broken heart to church at 10 a.m.
A final thought: In the wake of these disturbing events, I couldn’t be more grateful to be in community with you.
Our church is an anchor in my life, a place where we can openly name hard truths, navigate toward greater love and justice together, and ask ourselves – really ask ourselves – where love is calling us next.
My life is more aligned with my values because I am a part of this community. Thank you.
In Gratitude, in Love, and in the Struggle,