Religious Groups Stand With #BlackLivesMatter
In the aftermath of the police killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade, people across the nation have organized marches, vigils, monument removals, and sit-ins to protest racialized police violence. Demonstrations have continued on a daily basis in over 2,000 cities in the U.S. and more than 60 countries, and religious groups are among those raising their voices. In a survey of the month of June, KtB editors were impressed by the diversity of faith communities taking a stand, at times sparking internal growth and reckoning.
We wanted to share some of the most significant events that took place over the last 30 days, along with quotes from participants and event organizers.
June 2: A “Prayerful Protest” in Brooklyn, NYC
“We are Protestant Christians, after all…We are countercultural by nature. We are protesting systems, principalities, powers in the world. A protest is just a physical way of embodying the way we operate spiritually anyway.”
– James T. Roberson, event organizer and pastor at Bridge Church NYC
June 2: Faith Community Demonstration in Chicago
“Christ spoke truth to power.”
– Willie Benton, Trinity United Church of Christ, church of former President Barack Obama
June 4: Reverend Al Sharpton delivers the eulogy at George Floyd’s Memorial Service in Minneapolis
“It’s time to stand up in George’s name and say get your knee off our necks.”
June 7: Young Hassidic Jews march in support of #BLM
“It was a way of helping our Jewish community to begin to learn from and listen to black voices in our community.”
– Maayan Zik, one of the event organizers
June 7: Evangelicals march in Washington
“We pray that you would forgive us for our history and our present.”
– David Platt, pastor of McClean Bible Church
June 15: American Muslim civil rights organizations release a joint statement in support of Black Lives Matter
“Muslim American organizations are committed to advocating at all levels to put an end to excessive use of force which has led to the murders of countless Black Americans.”
– Iman Awad, legislative director of Emgage Action, one of the statement’s signatories
June 25: Jews for Racial and Economic Justice hold Shabbat service at Occupy City Hall in New York
“We show up proudly and loudly as Jews to say that black lives matter, and that we are New Yorkers and we want to fight alongside all of our allies to create the New York that we want to live in.”
– Leo Ferguson, one of the group’s organizers
Ongoing: Throughout the month of June, Sikh communities in New York, California and Connecticut brought home-cooked meals and water to protesters.
“We are looking for justice. We support this.”
– Himmat Singh, a coordinator at the World Sikh Parliament
Francesca Hyatt is an assistant editor at Killing the Buddha and the author of Forestwish (Ghostbird Press 2022). She teaches undergraduate writing courses at Queens College, CUNY where she also received an MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation. Learn more at www.francescahyatt.com or follow her on Instagram @francescavhyatt.