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Bishop Gibbs on Zimmerman verdict and Detroit bankruptcy

Bishop Gibbs on Zimmerman verdict and Detroit bankruptcy

The Rt. Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr, Bishop of Michigan has issued a statement about the verdict in the Zimmerman trial and the news that the City of Detroit has declared bankruptcy.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The past several days have provided an opportunity for a range of emotions. First, court watchers were informed of the verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman and then the region, the nation and the world heard the news of the bankruptcy filing affecting the City of Detroit.

With regard to the Zimmerman trial, for some the ‘not guilty’ verdict was a stunning disappointment, for some it was a matter of justice served; for many the verdict was confirmation of a less than equal justice system, for others it was a validation that the rule of law works. For me, as a man of African descent, the verdict was a major red flag that the struggle for racial equality in this country is far from over. As a person of color, the verdict is a warning sign that those who do not share my ebony heritage have yet to grasp the reality of privilege claimed by the majority culture in all levels of our society. As a black man, the verdict is an indication that the election of an African-American to the highest elected office in this nation does not signal a lessening of racial tensions in this country, and, that black families must still caution their kin to be watchful in certain neighborhoods and communities lest they be arrested, attacked or killed based solely on their skin color.

The bankruptcy filing in Detroit has added a pall of uncertainty to a region and city that painfully continues to try to recover from race riots dating back to the 1960s. Some leaders suggest that bankruptcy marks the beginning of a new era of growth and reinvestment in the city; some leaders continue to advocate theories of doom and gloom. As a city resident, I suggest it is far too soon to tell what the outcome will be, but at least someone is doing something…different!

Both of these situations call us as Christians to an attitude of prayer, placing our faith in our God rather than in the platitudes of legal experts or politicians. This is not a time to wring our hands and run away from the troubles around us, blaming the outcome on others. Rather, it is our time to remain strong, offering our gifts and talents to do whatever we can to bring reconciliation and renewal to both of these situations. “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it” (1 Cor. 12:26).

In the days, weeks and months to come, let us put our efforts — our good works — behind bringing honor to all members of the body of Christ.

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