As a faith driven, multi-faith organization, we are compelled to speak to the heinous and abhorrent murder that occurred in Memphis, Tennessee, last week.
Our hearts and fervent prayers go out to the families of all who were affected in this tragedy, especially to Tyre’s son, who will grow up without his loving and hard-working father.
African Americans continue to be traumatized over and over by these senseless murders. A murder should NOT occur from a traffic stop!! It’s an epidemic! Black men, boys and women are targeted by the police. They can’t walk, drive, or work in their own garages at night. We live in fear of the traffic stop, afraid to get out of or stay in our own cars, knowing that so many stops have ended in murder. Every time a tragedy like this occurs, the media replays it on a loop and provides their empty commentary. The Black community is traumatized repeatedly for the sake of entertainment and shock value. We were surprised to learn that the police officers were African American, but we know that police departments often represent the dominant ethnic group of a community. This reveals that the issue is both about race and the culture of the police departments across this country that must change. Those who have a badge and a gun, who pledge to protect and serve, must do so for everyone! Instead, some officers use their uniform to exert power over our communities.
Policing in this country has a dark and racist history. The original police department, so to speak, was comprised of men known as slave catchers who were paid to return slaves! This has morphed into what we see today, a racially biased policing system.
Our call to you today is to consider: When will WE stop this from happening? What can WE do? Joining together, Black, white and brown, we can use our collective power to pressure our cities, state, and Congress to protect US! There is an epidemic in this country of African Americans being murdered at the hands of the police. We address epidemics, don’t we? Why hasn’t this epidemic been addressed?
Lee McNeil Sharon R. Bridgeforth
Board President Board President
Together Colorado Faith in Colorado