I wish I could say I was shocked by the Philando Castile verdict, but, unfortunately, it seemed entirely predictable. I was driving when I heard the news, and I wanted to pull over to the side of the road and cry, cry out against the injustice of it all. I did find myself screaming aloud, “What does a black man have to do in this country to get justice against the police?”
As you know, Castile’s girlfriend livestreamed the aftermath of his shooting. Despite the whole world as witnesses, the officer’s own words, the fact that Philando was unarmed and had done nothing wrong, the police officer still was not held to account for killing an innocent person as his girlfriend’s four-year-old daughter watched from the backseat.
How many of our brothers must be executed and their killers exonerated before ALL white Americans understand the need to do more than affirm that “Black Lives MATTER”?
There is a dear young man in my congregation who comes to my mind every time I hear about a young, unarmed black man being shot down though he was doing nothing wrong. That this sweet guy, who is active in our church and whose parents are the salt of the earth, must live in fear of the people who white people assume will protect them is just plain wrong. That white people don’t even try to understand this is evil. It is the evil of people who have had the privilege of power and position endowed on them by their race, without any reflection.
I know, dear reader, that I’m preaching to the choir. I also know that if the choir doesn’t start singing loud songs of protest this will never change, and that makes us complicit with those who kill innocent black men and with those who refuse to hold the killers accountable. If this doesn’t break your heart then perhaps it has turned to stone … or a burning cross.
Rev. Michael Piazza