Jacob Blake suffered seven gunshots wounds at point blank range by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, over the weekend. Police were called to break up a dispute between two entirely different people. The horror of the unjust shooting was witnessed by Jacob’s three young children. Jacob’s father told the media today that Jacob is now paralyzed from the waist down. While we are grateful Jacob survived, we are deeply saddened by the pain and suffering he and his family are enduring now and will into the future.
Wisconsin is my home state. Kenosha is just south of Milwaukee, where I grew up. The unimaginable is happening all across this country, in all of our neighborhoods. Black men and women are being gunned down.
This morning, I read a statement put out by the Bradford Community Church in Kenosha, yesterday, where cars in an adjoining lot were set on fire in protest. It is one of the most powerful things I have read in response to injustice, followed by protests, and sometimes property damage. Here it is:
We, the members of the clergy of Bradford Community Church Unitarian Universalist, are outraged at the violence perpetuated in the name of law enforcement on our people of color throughout our nation’s history and yesterday in Kenosha in the case of Jacob Blake for whose life we now pray.
Despite the fact that we cannot condone violent response to injustice, we understand and appreciate the anger and frustration that fueled the events of last night. While we are relieved that our church home mostly survived the inferno in the lot next door, we affirm that we would rather lose 100 buildings than one more life to police violence. Some folks have already commented that our decision to display “Black Lives Matter” on our road sign in some way contributed to the fire or that our support of the BLM movement is hypocritical or “un-Christian.” Indeed, all lives do matter to us (that is what “Universalist” means), but given the overwhelming and disproportionate injustice suffered by Americans of color, we are compelled by our faith to speak up and affirm that Black Lives Matter too.
If this is not your faith, so be it, but it is most certainly ours and we ask that all folks be respectful in honoring our sacred calling to speak truth to power, protect the innocent, empower the disenfranchised and promote equity and compassion in human relations.
In the name of love,
Rev. Erik David Carlson
On Behalf of the Bradford Community Church Unitarian Universalist, Kenosha
This aligns with the message of our Catholic mission and faith as well. And, frankly, I could not have said it better. We continue to pray for Jacob Blake, his family, and our nation. We stand together to promote social justice, even as we mourn together the injustices ravaging our country.
At PC, we are here to support one another as we deal with the trauma and agony of these increasingly regular assaults on humanity. One-on-one counseling is available through the office of Rebecca Christiansen. For those in our PC family who wish to come together to grieve and talk through positive ways we can support one another, we will be offering a chance to meet together on WebEx. The date, time and link will be sent out soon.