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Call for Response to Racial Injustice

NO MORE, Never Again

In these uncertain and trying times, I find my heart broken by the additional pain of my brothers and sisters of color who have, for so long, endured the pain of racially motivated hatred and discrimination. It is beyond time for those of us who have a voice, to speak loudly, joining their voices to say, “NO MORE!”

In conversation this morning as I was preparing to write a statement on behalf of The Center, this statement was shared by Debbie Heisley-Cato, our Board Chair: “None of us can breathe until ALL of us can breathe.” It’s time for us to stop saying we don’t know what we can do and therefore, we do nothing. And so, I offer a suggestion for what we can do:

We, each one of us, must look into our own hearts, we must evaluate our own actions or lack of action, we must be willing to speak out. Wherever you find yourself, you may be the one who needs to say, “NO MORE!” The time for silence, which can be interpreted as acceptance, is over! Today is the day: go to prayer and begin by repenting to God; and then be willing to tell others that you repent of your lack of action, or silence, or thoughts that skew your thinking toward others in ways that are not loving and compassionate.

I’ve been told that the Bishop of the Florida Annual Conference led the conference there in a time of repentance and prayer focusing on the breath. I offer this to you, pray without ceasing: (As you breathe in) “We can’t breathe;” (As you exhale), “Lord, have mercy!”

Lord, we can’t breathe: in a world where power and privilege steal our humanity; in a time when murder of citizens is condoned, overlooked, and even encouraged by thoughtless words; in a place where hearts are hardened and spirits are turned into dead skeletons. Lord, healing only comes as we recognize our own sickness: the thoughts and feelings that guide us into thinking that our lives are more important, our bodies more worthy, our judgment “right.” Lord, forgive us, brothers and sisters, forgive us; today, I humbly recognize my weakness, my complicity, my frailty that has allowed me to be silent for too long. Today, is the day I stand up to say, “NO MORE, never again, I relinquish my power so that others may breathe and live.” Amen.