I woke this morning to the news of the shooting death of Philando Castile by a police officer just a few miles from my home. He was pulled over because he had a broken tail light and he ended up shot to death. This comes on the heels of the Alton Sterling shooting which is just the latest in a seemingly endless list of black lives senselessly lost at the hands of officers who are pledged to protect them.
This is personal for me. I have four black grandchildren who are so precious to me, and I’m frankly afraid for them. I see their faces in everyone one of these innocent victims. And I’m enraged. I have not stopped shaking since watching the horrific video of Philando bleeding to death next to his girlfriend two hours ago.
Most of all, I’m grieving. I grieve for all who knew and loved Philando as well as for all who loved the untold number of black people shot by police. I grieve for the black community who are forced to live in a different and much less safe America than I and most other white people live in. And I grieve for those white people who are unaware of the privilege their whiteness affords them and who thus deny, once again, the systemic racism that afflicts far too many police forces in America.
Lord, forgive us for the ways we have done violence to people who bear your image, who are your children, and who possess unsurpassable worth. Bring comfort to all who are grieving. Bring healing and repentance. Bring justice. And gives us the wisdom to know “what would bring peace” (Lk 19:42) in this moment.