For Immediate Release, June 10, 2020
Contact: Rabbi Rachel Kobrin, 512-739-7471
Colorado Faith Leaders eulogize George Floyd, condemn the President for using religion to inflame violence and call on the City of Denver to reprioritize law enforcement funding
Colorado faith leaders representing various faith traditions gathered June 10 in both grief and moral outrage to remember the many Black lives lost at the hands of the police repression throughout the United States and Colorado. Calling out the white supremacist culture embedded in every system and governing body from the President of the United States to the local police departments, faith leaders pushed for the City of Denver to hold police officers accountable for past deaths on their watch and to develop a People’s Budget that prioritizes funding for public health over the militarization of the city’s streets.
Together Colorado Board President, Lee McNeil, welcomed everyone and set the tone for the morning. McNeil reminded us that whatever our race, background, or zip code, we all want to move through our communities without fearing for our lives or our loved ones. But, as she stated, “time and again, we have witnessed evidence of horrors committed against Black people by police in cities and on back roads, in living rooms and on neighborhood streets, in the dark of night and the light of day.”
Rabbi Rachel Kobrin of Congregation Rodef Shalom began where McNeil left off and underscored the purpose of the gathering by declaring, “Black lives matter. This is why we are here.” Kobrin decried President Trump’s use of tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the peaceful protesters to have his photo taken with a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Kobrin declared, “had President Trump actually opened and read the Bible, he would have known that our texts teach that we must not stand by the blood of our neighbor and that we must love our neighbor as we love ourselves. The President’s repeated statements and actions that drive a wedge through our country and fan the flames of white supremacy leave us outraged. He has used the Bible — a testament of love, justice, peace, and equality — as a weapon against itself and against the American people.”
To honor the numerous Black and Brown lives lost, the faith leaders named local and national victims of police brutality for eight minutes and forty-six seconds. Names such as Elijah McCain, Jessie Hernandez, Michael Marshall, Marvin Booker rang out over those present. Amongst the many people remembered, the Rev. Dr. Timothy Tyler of Shorter Community AME Church eulogized George Floyd and spoke to the significance of this moment.
Throughout the event, speakers called for action and systemic change. Together Colorado Board Member Vickie Wilhite called on the Mayor of Denver to take action on officers who remain on the police force who have murdered or done harm to people in the community and the City Council to form a People’s Budget that prioritizes the funding of the community’s public health over the militarization of the streets. All the gains we have ever made have come from people refusing to accept that what is true today seals our fate tomorrow. It is time to stand up for the promise of justice for all, demanding an end to brutality against Black and Brown people.
Together Colorado is a nonpartisan, multi-faith multi-racial community organization comprised of 220 congregations, schools and faith leaders throughout the state of Colorado working together to put human dignity at the center of public life in Colorado. For more information, please visit http://www.togethercolorado.org.