Initial Reflections on Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd

Two events have arrested our national attention outside of the Coronavirus this week: the murders of Ahmaud Arbery by fellow citizens and George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis. There is still a lot of information forthcoming. Rather than commenting at this point, I am listening, particularly to my black brothers and sisters. I will have more to say later but let me put these thoughts before you. The first is an excerpt from an opinion piece in the New York Times by Dr. Esau McCaulley in response to Mr. Arbery’s death that represents a perspective that must be understood by those of us who grew up in the white community:

“Black folks need more than a trial and a verdict. Our problems are deeper, rooted not in the details of a particular case, but in distrust of the system charged with protecting us and punishing those who do us harm. This cynicism is well earned, arising out of repeated disappointments. To begin to heal this distrust we need this country to take responsibility for its devaluation of blackness and its complicity in violence against black bodies.”

The second voice, who has deeply influenced my understanding of the black experience, is Dr. Charlie Dates of Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago. People often ask who my favorite preachers are. He is toward the top of the list. I link you to a midweek devotional he did for his church this week: Click Here