TO THE COMMUNITY OF KENOSHA AUGUST 25, 2020
Jacob Blake did not deserve to be shot repeatedly in the back. No one does.
Jacob Blake’s children did not deserve to see him shot in front of them. No children do.
We, members of the Religious Leaders Caucus of CUSH, offer our deepest prayers and most sacred hopes for Mr. Blake’s recovery and for the healing of his family who are in so much pain right now, just as we have for the families of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and so many more.
But we know that hopes and prayers are not enough to stop a speeding bullet or to counteract centuries’ worth of systemic racism and the calculated oppression of our siblings of color so ubiquitous in this nation’s history that many of the privileged among us still do not recognize it even exists.
We know that in addition to the hope of our hearts and the prayers of our souls we must act. We support the independent investigation into the shooting that has commenced and applaud Gov. Evers’ calling a special legislative session to confront issues of police brutality, accountability and transparency.
While condemning the violent outbursts that have affected our businesses and municipal property, we do also recognize that the pain that fuels these acts is real and ever-present for communities of color who live in constant fear of police violence. Lives of people are worth more than buildings, vehicles or even livelihoods, and we refute the false narrative that those who break windows are morally equivalent to those who shoot people in the back.
We are therefore calling, again, for the leadership of Kenosha to address these issues head-on, engage the community in real, meaningful dialogue, and to truly honor the sacredness of human life through change to the systems and structures by which we govern and are governed. This means actionable changes to the way policing is performed in Kenosha by refocusing the mission of law enforcement to protect, and not end, lives.
Furthermore, we again implore the Mayor to enlist the help of CUSH, its member clergy and other community organizations in the work of the city to examine and address these issues, as the time for statements is long past: the time for action is now.
Religious Leaders Caucus, Congregations United to Serve Humanity
Rev. Dr. Grace Cajiuat, Wesley United Methodist Church
Pastor Jim Lynch, Lakeside Lutheran Church
Rev. Erik David Carlson, Bradford Community Church Unitarian Universalist
Rev. Dr. Monica L. Cummings, Bradford Community Church Unitarian Universalist
Rev. Anita Lang, United Methodist Pastor
Rev. Kevin Beebe, Spirit Alive! Church
Sr. Judy Seiberlich, OP, Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa
Sr. Erica Jordan, OP, Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa
The Very Rev. Matthew L. Buterbaugh, Rector - St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church Kenosha
Pastor Patrick Roberts, First Baptist Church of Kenosha
Nick Idrizi, President of the American Albanian Islamic Center of Kenosha
Rev. Paul Petersen, St. Mary’s Lutheran Church
Rabbi Dena A. Feingold, Beth Hillel Temple
Rev. Dr. Susan A. Patterson-Sumwalt, Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church
Fr. Carlos Florez, Pastor of Saint Mark Catholic Church
Aslam Saiyed, Islamic Society of South Eastern Wisconsin
Rev. Justin Elliott Lowe
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