by Pearlette Springer
Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team Chairperson
I recently read an article written by Penn Rhodeen, “The Crucifixion of George Floyd”. In this article, Rhodeen contrasts and compares lynching to crucifixion. The analysis revealed that lynching is a mob action, not condoned or authorized by government entities. Crucifixion, as we have seen with Jesus Christ, is approved by government entities and witnessed by the people. As Rhodeen stated, “In the case of crucifixion, there is nowhere [or no one] to call.”
George Floyd, according to Rhodeen, was crucified. The technique used is taught by government entities. The other four officers on the scene participated in the sense that they did not stop it. And the numerous 911 calls reporting the crucifixion were ignored.
For almost 10 months, we have watched George Floyd die over and over and over again. Yesterday he was finally laid to rest. Yesterday his crucifier was found guilty of murder.
Now we grieve. Now we can finally grieve, not only for George Floyd, but for our society. We grieve for a society that has stood back and watched the unjust killing of Black males and females for centuries. We grieve for all those that continue to feed into and are willing participants of systemic racism. We grieve for the families who have lost their son or daughter to racial profiling. We grieve for the families that have lost their son or daughter to the unjust application of the law and the abuse of power. Finally, we grieve for the soul of Derek Chauvin who has not yet admitted the wrong he committed and the extensive harm he has done.
We are now in a holding pattern. Waiting. Waiting for the next shoe to fall. The next bow to break. We wait for the healing to begin and reconciliation to happen. Authentic reconciliation cannot happen until law enforcement across this country begins to address systemic and structural racism. Authentic reconciliation cannot happen until attorneys general across this country begin to say that the killing of unarmed Black men and women is no longer acceptable in our society. Authentic reconciliation cannot happen until structural and systemic racism is addressed.
As a Black Catholic theologian stated a few weeks ago, a guilty verdict in this trial will not end these structural abuses of power. A guilty verdict is not going to end systemic racism. It takes more than one person placed on trial before the American people … before the world … to change a structure that has been in place for the entire life of this country.
Regardless of what tomorrow brings, we must continue to hope. We must continue to place our faith in a just God, a just Creator of humanity. We must continue to work towards a just solution to unjust actions.
May God be with us!