A Call for Community Safety and Repairing Systemic Inequities in the Justice System upon “The Verdict of Derek Chauvin in the Murder of George Floyd”
We at Agape Child & Family Services watched in horror as George Floyd died with his neck under the knee of Derek Chauvin, and this week, we felt relief upon hearing the jury’s judgement of guilt for this grotesque murder by a peace officer. The brokenness of our nation recalls God’s indictment against people in another time. It takes the form of a poem by the prophet Hosea:
Listen to the word of the LORD, O sons of Israel,
For the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land,
Because there is no faithfulness or kindness
Or knowledge of God in the land.
There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery.
They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Therefore the land mourns,
And everyone who lives in it languishes (Hosea 4:1-3, NASB).
There is another way. Hosea’s contemporary, the prophet Micah, called God’s people to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Through the amazing grace God shows for the world, we join Christians everywhere with unwavering hope for a community characterized by justice and mercy and recognize our humble responsibility to speak out and take action to rectify matters of injustice in our society.
Why is this important to Agape and our Community?
For many years, our neighbors in under-resourced, overlooked and often-invisible Memphis communities have consistently told us that among the biggest barriers to thriving as a family is safety; for them, safety means being treated fairly and justly in their own homes, by their neighbors, and by law enforcement and the justice system. What happened to George Floyd and what comes out of Chauvin’s murder trial are deeply relevant and resonant to many, especially those we walk alongside daily.
This verdict is a positive step, but we are far from where we need to be. True justice requires that we face the fact that Black, Brown, Asian, and other persons of color are treated differently while carrying out daily activities of life and engaging with those systems that make society run. Those of us who are privileged need to be willing to look beyond individual incidents of injustice and work with our neighbors to see where systems we’ve never had to scrutinize don’t operate for everyone equitably and could be fixed so that our community prospers for all of us because it’s fairer for everyone.
At Agape we witness inhumanity and injustice daily as we walk alongside families living in hard places to help them define and achieve the goals they desire for themselves; we can’t sit idly by while these very neighbors experience ongoing racial and class bias and are denied economic opportunities.
It is always our goal to promote love, healing, and unity and to seek God’s direction for any action we undertake. Agape makes a firm commitment to lead and support efforts to bring reconciliation and harmony to our communities including bringing multi-ethnic congregations together in relationship; facilitating conversations of healing within the community; being thought partners at decision-making tables as regards improvements to the policies and practices governing systems impacting families in our community; and, partnering with law enforcement and the justice system to promote trust and safety in our community. Agape lifts our voices in solidarity with those crying out for justice; prays for law enforcement and justice officials dedicated to protecting and serving our communities; and prays that those who choose to misuse their power be exposed and brought to justice as we stand with Proverbs 21:15 which states that “when justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.”
We humbly ask that you pray and walk with us in love to fight injustice and bring about real, positive, lasting change in our community, nation, and world.
With hope for Shalom,
David Jordan, President & CEO
Agape Child & Family Services