A Time for Healing ~ A Time for Stronger Action
The verdict is Guilty! The community breathes a sigh of relief. But it is relief grounded in pain and trauma. Finally a white police officer has been found guilty of murdering a black man. Thank God for a guilty verdict. The alternative is unconscionable. I am grateful for the courageous Darnella Frazier whose video was instrumental and I'm grateful for all the brave testimonies. I’m grateful that some folks have now broken through the caste system and can see what is right in front of them.
The United States was built on a caste system which holds one group of people as superior to all other groups. It’s a powerful infrastructure that defines a person’s humanity and role in society by their physical characteristics. It is so embedded in our culture that Black Americans killed by police officers don’t usually cause us to even take a pause in our day. The policing/ prison system masquerades as a system of protection, but for many Black Americans it is a system of trauma and death. It took the painful experience of watching one man beg for his mother with his last breath and lose his life at the hands of another man for some to wake up to what others already knew... that violent racism is part of what our country was built on.
Systemic racism is embedded in our education system, in most religious organizations, in city structures and the (in)justice system. It is everywhere, not because people are bad, but because it is embedded in our laws, in our books, in our movies and in our hearts. It takes a mammoth effort to make changes to the system, but it can be done. That’s what I saw today. I saw a glimmer of hope because some folks actually broke through the system enough to see that the killing of George Floyd was wrong! Thank God for that! Halleluiah, they broke through!
But let’s be clear, this is not justice at all. Justice would be George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Ma'Khia Bryant (a 16 year old girl killed during the reading of the verdict) and so many others having their lives back. Justice is abolishing the system that was created to keep the dominant culture in its superior place. Justice is black mothers and fathers not having to worry that their children may get shot if they go to get a candy bar or go to the gym. Justice is many things, but what happened in that courtroon was not justice.
Today, the window cracked open, and hope drifted in. Now it is up to us to break the windows all the way open and tear down the walls too. There are strong systems and forces designed to keep this structure in place. We need all the vision and hope we can get! Now is the time to set our priorities right. Let’s prioritize services that uplift and strengthen people and delete systems of punishment and death. Now is the time to get serious about reparations. Now is the time and this is the place!
Thank you for being a part of the Church in Ocean Park. Together we make a difference!
#BlackLivesStillMatter #ToxicSystemsKillPeople #HopeSavesLives
Rev. Janet G. McKeithen
Minister, The Church in Ocean Park
STATEMENT ABOUT ASIAN HATE CRIMES
from the Administrative Board
There has been a huge surge in violence against Asian Americans in the past year, resulting in death, again last week. Our hearts break for the families of the victims and also for all of our Asian siblings. This escalating hatred, scapegoating and violence causes trauma throughout the community. The Church in Ocean Park denounces these hate crimes, which is exactly what they are. Beloved community members are now in fear for the safety of their parents and their children and themselves. Some of those who commit these hate crimes claim to be religious. What in the world does that mean? Where is their religious bone or heart? The Church in Ocean Park does not share a faith tradition with the murderer of the women who were killed as they worked last week. Further, the Church in Ocean Park works to dismantle systems of oppression, so we do not buy into the dangerous Model Minority Myth that works to keep our country's caste system in place. Instead, we work to overturn racist systems and structures and work towards a more beloved community and world. We will not give up. To help, go to
"These acts of hate are neither sporadic nor haphazard. They reflect a larger systemic trend of anti-Asian American animosity brought on during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been exacerbated by documented xenophobic policies and racist rhetoric disseminated by the previous Administration. Politically charged racist rhetoric has fomented the hate against Asian Americans." from the New Federation of Asian American United Methodists.