How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13 NRSV
Washington, DC, April 14, 2021 – The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) again laments another death and the blatant disregard for Black lives after two racial incidents with police rose to national attention over the weekend.
We are weary after learning of the incident in Virginia involving Lt. Caron Nazario last December when the temporary tags on his new vehicle were initially missed by police and he was stopped. Lt. Nazario, wearing his military uniform, explained he was actively serving our nation and was verbally antagonized, pepper-sprayed in the face, and shoved to the ground while asking why his vehicle was to be searched. His injustice is our injustice.
How long, O Lord?
We cry out at the death of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, MN, who was killed by a police officer after being stopped for expired license plates. He was shot by a heavy metal pistol that was aimed at him throughout the incident, a gun that plainly could not be mistaken for a plastic yellow taser. We grieve and pray for Daunte’s family, his father, his mother who he called when he was pulled over, and his child who is fatherless. Their pain is our pain.
How long, O Lord?
We bear the weight of this tragedy during the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis officer charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd last May after he kneeled on Mr. Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds causing him to cry out, “I can’t breathe.” The agony of Mr. Floyd’s family is our agony; the community’s anguish is our anguish.
How long, O Lord?
NCC joins the Minnesota Council of Churches in mourning and weeping. We uphold their call for the faith community to pray for the family and friends of Daunte Wright; to stand with African American church leaders, church members, Black-led civil rights and community organizations, and courageous young activists; and to speak truth to power for police accountability, police reform bills, and system-wide transformation of policing in Minnesota.
Minnesota Council of Churches Statement on Killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center by Police https://mnchurches.org/blog/2021/04/12/statement-killing-daunte-wright-brooklyn-center-police
Incidents like what happened to Daunte Wright and so many others reinforce the urgency of the NCC’s work for racial justice through its A.C.T. Now! To End Racism initiative. We will continue to fight to end racism and white supremacy and to dismantle the systems and practices that allow them to thrive in our nation.
Recent NCC statements on police brutality and the need for police reform:
Statement on Grand Jury Findings in Killing of Breonna Taylor, September 25, 2020
(Another) Statement on the Shooting of Black Men by Police: We’re Weary But Not Too Tired to Continue the Fight for Justice, August 26, 2020
Statement of the National Council of Churches on Protests Across the Country, June 5, 2020
Floyd Murder by Police Officer Is an Outrage, Says National Council of Churches USA, May 29, 2020
NCC Decries Violence Against Two Unarmed African American Men, May 8, 2020
God, the Baltimore Police, and Everytown, August 17, 2016
A Call to Police Reform and Healing of Communities, May 13, 2015