Bishop Jeff Lee of Chicago is asking the people of his dioceseto respond to the killing of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman with “prayer, reflection and action in the face of the violence of our society.” His letter includes specific recommendations that the people of the diocese might take in response to the verdict.
The diocese sponsors CROSSwalk, an initiative to reduce gun violence. The bishop writes:
Trayvon Martin’s death confronts us with many intertwined issues. Those include the reality of institutionalized racism and white privilege (what I once heard Condaleeza Rice describe as a “birth defect” of this country), our cultural fascination with firearms and the dangerous notion (in my judgment) that arming the populace with concealed weapons will make everyone safer. The list goes on. I am particularly mindful of the anguish and righteous anger of African American parents who fear for the lives of their children–especially their sons.
The kind of fear and violence that resulted in Trayvon Martin’s death breaks the hearts of people daily. My prayer is that our hearts might be united with Jesus’ heart, so that with him we might risk taking a stand against the forces of evil that continue to enslave us all.
Leaders in our church provide excellent resources for us to use for reflection and action on these issues: the report of the Task Force on the Legacy of Slavery in our diocese is soon to be released and our Anti-Racism Commission continues to offer one and two-and-a half day workshops on the subject of analyzing systemic racism. Further, I commend the work of the Rev. Eric Law. His books are perfect for small group and parish book study and we hope to offer his workshops and trainings in our diocese in the year to come.
What recommendations would you make for responding to Martin-Zimmerman verdict?