Reflections on the Death of Mr. George Floyd

The Reverend Gary Taylor

I am sure that, like me, you are saddened by the events in our country of the last nine days. The deplorable actions of a small number of men in Minnesota have sparked reactions across the globe ranging from peaceful protests of justifiable indignation to acts of violence and destruction. We are blessed that there has been little reactive violence in New Orleans, but there is no denying that racism and systematic oppression exist nationwide.

Lawrence S. Bacow, the President of Harvard University, sent a powerful letter to his community in reaction to these events. In it, he enumerated his core beliefs and challenged his readers not only to do so for themselves but to find the strength and determination to act on those beliefs.

As a Christian school, Trinity’s core beliefs are clear. In our baptismal covenant we pledge to seek and serve Christ in all people, loving our neighbor as ourselves. We promise to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being. While it is human nature to find affinity with those who are most like us, we are called as disciples of Jesus to expand our world to include and empower those different than us as well.

No one condones the actions that led to the death of George Floyd on May 25; all agree that our justice system must follow the law in applying appropriate consequences for those found culpable. What is difficult is how we as a country can come to terms with and begin to address the less publicized conditions that led to this high-profile international event. Violent protest is not helpful, but neither is silent acceptance of the status quo.

Each of us must consult our own conscience, assess our own capabilities, and find our own path to being an upstander for positive change in our world. At Trinity, we will continue to strive to make a positive difference by teaching our students about compassion and inclusion, by developing in them an awareness of, and sensitivity to, the lives of other people in our world and in our city, and by fostering in them a drive to work for the common good that ennobles all people, recognizing each person as a child of God.

This is important and indeed holy work. It is our truest vocation that energizes us every day. And it is the hope and possibility for a brighter future that we see in the faces of our children that energizes us to carry on, even in the darkest time.

We are grateful for your entrusting your children to our care and guidance, and for your partnership in building a better world through the children we value so much. Together, we can make a difference and create a brighter future for all God’s children.