For the past few months, our collective attention has been focused on COVID-19. While the impact of the virus has not been felt equally, we have confronted the illness as a common foe.
Unlike COVID, racial injustice is not an external virus, but something woven deeply into our culture and our society. George Floyd’s death while in police custody is the most recent reminder of historic inequities and injustice in this country. We have seen rage and exasperation lead to public protests across the country and in areas close to us. Some of those protests have led to riots and violent acts. We may not agree with the violent acts, but let’s not focus on the extremes but rather on the oppression and suffering that has been experienced for too long by too many in this country.
If we have not ourselves experienced that oppression and suffering, we are fortunate, but let’s not allow that to breed indifference or cynicism or the delusion that this is not our collective problem. Let’s not seek someone to blame but let’s focus on asking ourselves, "what can I do?"
The Bishop’s School values remind us that we are intentionally pluralistic, and that we are here to promote inclusion, compassion and justice. Our commitment to these values is more important than ever. However you wish to express your feelings, please do so in a way that is safe for you and for your family. I thank Rev. Nicole Simopoulos for offering her thoughts and wisdom below.
“Real love is the dogged commitment to live my life in the most unselfish, even sacrificial ways; to love God, love my neighbor, love the earth and truly love myself. Perhaps most difficult in times like this, it is even love for my enemy.”
- A statement
from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
I have no doubt that you are as deeply anguished by the recent acts of racial violence, discrimination and harassment against our black sisters and brothers as I am.
It is in times like these that I am eternally grateful for the prophetic voice and moral courage of the leaders of the Episcopal Church. Across the nation, Episcopalians and other people of faith are praying for the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others, and continuing the work of racial reconciliation and healing in our country.
to the unrest in the Twin Cities, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, noted:
“This crisis reflects deep sores and deep wounds that have been here all along. In the midst of COVID-19 and the pressure cooker of a society in turmoil, a man was brutally killed. The basic human right to life was taken away. His basic human dignity was stripped by someone charged to protect our common humanity. And perhaps the deeper pain of this is the fact that it’s not an isolated incident. The pain of this is that it’s a deep part of our life. It’s not just our history. It is American society today. We are not, however, slaves to our fate, unless we choose to do nothing.”
In his initial statement
in response to the killing of George Floyd, Bishop-elect Craig Loya of the Diocese of Minnesota, summed up the call of faith when he wrote:
“The way of Jesus is never about fearing and devaluing the other. It is always about giving up ourselves for love of the other. It is about making space in the center for those we have pushed to the margins. It is about receiving one another across differences as a pure gift and blessing. My job as a Christian leader is always about making space for voices that have been silenced, and repenting of the injustices which I commit, and which are committed on my behalf.”
As people of faith, as people of compassion, as human beings, we are called to continue to commit ourselves to the work of racial reconciliation, justice and healing in our nation even when, as Bishop Curry says, “the cameras are long gone.” God’s dream - of a world in which love stands supreme, and all enjoy freedom, dignity and respect - compels us to pray, connect, reflect and act.
Here are some resources and ways you can respond in these times:
Connect: Reach out to your friends who you know right now are living in fear or struggling. Listen. Be present. Let them know you love and care for them.
It seems fitting, at the close of the school year, to return once again to the blessing that I’ve been using in Chapel all year. We are all rightfully dismayed by the brokenness of the world. We are outraged, distressed, heartbroken and afraid. But being dismayed does not mean giving up hope. There are two things that are essential to the work of justice that we must keep alive: infinite hope and radical love. “We are not” as Bishop Curry says, “slaves to our fate, unless we do nothing.”
Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.
All things break. And all things can be mended.
Not with time, as they say, but with intention.
So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly,and unconditionally.
The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.
- Rev. Simopoulos