Pastor’s Pen_May 29, 2022

Although we have barely processed the racist killings in Buffalo, New York, on May 25, the nation experienced the carnage of 19 children and two teachers killed in Uvalde, Texas.

African American people and people of goodwill everywhere remain sickened by the hate killings in Buffalo, leading many to contend that right-wing conservatives are opposed to Critical Race Theory (although not taught in public schools) because they do not want this nation and the world to discuss the murderous rampages against Black people that’s embedded in our national story. Bigots slaughtered Blacks in the New York draft riots on July 13-16, 1863. From May 31-June 1, 1921, the financial district of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was decimated and thousands were massacred in the terrible carnage and brutality of racist riots. The Buffalo slayings are only the most recent examples of mass violence against Black people in this nation.

Now we grieve the loss of children. Particularly egregious was the statement by Texas Governor Abbot that gun control was not the issue. If the 18-year-old who simply walked into a store and purchased automatic weapons had been questioned, if not stopped, 21 people could still be alive. In that vein, we have been encouraged by the former chair of our Social Justice Ministry to sign on to the following statement issued by the DC Area Interfaith Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) Network:  

“In recent days, the Presbyterian Church, Office of Public Witness, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (the “largest public service organization comprised of predominantly college-educated African-American women”) have issued powerful statements condemning the racially motivated, premeditated mass shooting on May 14, 2022, in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 African Americans and injuring three others, and the killing on May 15, 2022, of a Taiwanese-American doctor in a Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California.”

The DC Area Interfaith GVP Network is a coalition of volunteers from churches, synagogues, and mosques who have agreed to receive and disseminate information to congregants, clergy, and others interested in working to prevent and reduce gun violence. 

With this sorry legacy so evident, I want to commend our Social Justice Ministry for hosting a vigil on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, Friday, June 3, 2022. Attendees may bring pictures, newspaper articles, flowers, battery-operated candles, stuffed animals, and other personal items to display at the vigil and throughout the weekend. We hope that this public memorial attracts the attention of elected officials and those seeking office so that they can see the impact gun violence has had on this community and across the District of Columbia. During our worship service on Sunday, June 5, we will honor the 10 victims of the white supremacist gunman in Buffalo and all lives cut short by gun violence. Everyone is encouraged to wear orange June 3-5 and join the Social Justice Ministry in advocating for common-sense gun laws and violence disruption programs in our community.

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