The following statement on the death of George Floyd and on the sin of racism was given by Angele Mbassi, Coordinator of the Black Catholic Apostolate in the Diocese of Harrisburg. The apostolate works to address the social, economic and spiritual needs of all people of African ancestry. For information on the apostolate and its efforts and activities, visit https://www.hbgdiocese.org/multicultural-ministries/black-catholic-apostolate/.
On behalf of the Black Catholic Community in the Diocese of Harrisburg, as the coordinator I would like to address my condolences to Mr. George Floyd’s family. May you find comfort in the mighty God’s love.
Therefore, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, we have all seen the brutality and the barbaric death of a young black man in a video and in the media. This terrific tragedy hits me like a ton of bricks. A white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, refused to listen to a fellow human being’s cries in distress.
Helplessness and hopelessness in each tear and in his trembling voice broke my heart. My heart aches for him and all black men who constantly live in an oppressive society. My heart aches for black children everywhere that must navigate and learn how to behave in the presence of law enforcement.
My heart aches for every black woman that not only has to deal with the pressure of the systematic and institutional racism, but also must continue to be strong for her family, and pray daily that her husband, father, son and brothers make it home safely. My heart aches because black people are hurt and targeted, angry and traumatized, responding with the accumulated rage from long-standing abuse and oppression.
I join the non-violent call and protest for complete and transparent investigation of the killing of Mr. Floyd. Along with a call for investigation and justice, I state that we pray for comfort of his grieving family and friends, peace for the hurting community and prudence while the investigation is underway. My hope and prayer are to eradicate racism and injustice here in this country and all over the world. Since racism is a sin, our black community in the Diocese rejects the sin of racism in all its forms. God does not have any color; we keep our eyes on the Creator to pour the spirit of love among us with no discrimination.
I firmly believe with the power of the prayer we can uproot the spirit of racism and injustice so black people can be treated with dignity and the respect they deserve as any other human being.
(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)