SDRIC Statement On Events Surrounding The Death Of George Floyd At The Hands Of Law Enforcement
June 11, 2020
The Board of Directors of the San Diego Regional Interfaith Collaborative (SDRIC), organized seven years ago to strengthen the San Diego region through multi-religious cooperation, has released a statement regarding the death of George Floyd from suffocation by local law enforcement in Minneapolis, MN.
“As faith leaders in San Diego, we share the outrage of so many at George Floyd’s horrific death and the behavior of law enforcement personnel involved with it,” said Rev. Sharon Wylie, SDRIC president and minister of Chalice Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Escondido. “We believe faith communities have a critical role to play in healing the wounds and scars of systemic racism in our country, and we cannot remain silent.”
The statement reads:
We join countless other people of goodwill in our shock and outrage at the suffocation of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. It is a scene that has played out all too often in our nation, a nation that must continue to confront and eradicate the original sin of racism that has characterized its history. We confess our participation in systemic racism often by our silence, acknowledging that silence is complicity.
Police custody should not be a death sentence; George Floyd’s death should embolden reforms in police training around conflict resolution, humane de-escalation practices, and interactions that will reflect a respect for the dignity of every person who comes into contact with local law enforcement. A culture that tolerates targeting and harassment of anyone is simply intolerable. We support local law enforcement personnel whose goal is to protect and serve all of our residents regardless of race, social status, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or religious tradition. We must make this goal a lived reality.
We are grateful that law enforcement agencies in the San Diego region have now decided to prohibit the use of chokeholds with those in their custody, and that most of the protests across our region have remained peaceful as people exercise their freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. We know that much more needs to be done in order to eliminate the inequities in education, healthcare, housing, employment, and our criminal justice system that ‘keep a knee on the neck’ of people of color.
We encourage local faith communities to engage in dialogue and advocacy to eliminate the symptoms and incidents of systemic racism that continue to plague our community. The Building Trust Partnership sponsored by USD’s Joan Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice is a good example of these kinds of initiatives. It is time to end the ‘no talk’ rule in our pulpits when it comes to this topic. As faith leaders, we pledge to lead by example in our own faith traditions and to never hesitate to speak up and speak out whenever we see the rights of others being violated.