Support the Café
Search our site

Driving while black and white

Driving while black and white

Bishop Marianne Budde of the Diocese of Washington reflects on the experience of two priests of her diocese, the Reverends Peter Schell and Rondesia Jarrett, who described on Facebook the experience of being stopped by the police while driving through North Carolina with their young son, Joshua, and Rondesia’s brother, Ron.

The Facebook post went viral and was shared over 2,000 times and was picked up by the Daily Kos.

Bishop Budde writes:

Both on Facebook and Daily Kos, many people have shared similar incidents. “Welcome to the club,” Rondesia told Peter when they could talk to one another about what happened. “Then I realized,” Peter wrote, “Not one of these things were unusual. Not even a little bit.”

Peter and Rondesia’s story has gone viral for another reason: as Michelle Alexander details in her book, The New Jim Crow, as a nation, we are at last facing the consequences of legislation passed during our so-called War on Drugs that greatly expanded police authority. The racial bias in the way that power is wielded is indisputable. Until recently, however, with the string of incidents we refer to by the names of black Americans  who have died  in police custody–Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, and countless others–the cost to human life and dignity had not disturbed our nation’s social conscience. Thank God that’s changing, and we as the church are a part of that change.

When I asked Peter and Rondesia what they would like to have happen as a result of the attention their story has received, they said, “We’d like to shed light on one particular aspect of the enormous problem of police harassment–pretext stops.” This is the authority police officers have to stop a vehicle on a minor traffic violation (Peter was stopped for not using his turn signal when changing lanes) and then use the opportunity to interrogate those inside and search for drugs or stolen items.

This experience has reminded us of the strength and goodness of the Episcopal Church. The bishops and staff of our sister diocese in North Carolina responded immediately to the news of this incident. They are working with the clergy and congregations of Nash County, where Peter and Rondesia were stopped, to stage a public protest. We’ve also received great support from Charles Wynder, missioner for  social justice and advocacy engagement of The Episcopal Church.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

3 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Cynthia Katsarelis

I think we need a list. Each element of abuse will be more or less prominent in each community. But a list, annotated with examples, could be an organizational and teaching tool. And stories of how abuses may have been addressed successfully in some places, and how that came about.

Does TEC, or any diocese, have tools like that?

Michael Russell

We also need to speak out on asset forfieture abuse which is used capriciously against the least able to defend themselves. Asset Forfeiture Abuse https://www.aclu.org/issues/criminal-law-reform/reforming-police-practices/asset-forfeiture-abuse via @aclu

Cynthia Katsarelis

Organizing and protesting. Yay!

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_012
2020_013_B
2020_013_A

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café