For local religious leaders, accountability is an answered prayer
By Genoa Barrow | Senior Observer Editor
For centuries, African Americans have called on a higher power to navigate times of strife and strife. The continued impact of racism in America and the protests that black lives don’t matter to some have been the subject of much prayer.
Local religious leaders say that while a historic guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial of George Floyd’s murder was an answered prayer, there is still a long way to go to heal this nation.
Local pastor Joy Johnson called Tuesday a “monumental day” for black people in America, a “day that calls for celebration and remembrance.”
“Finally, finally, finally, a panel of 12 jurors saw what black mothers saw every time one of our black and brown children was taken their life by someone who has sworn to protect and serve. . Finally, someone had the courage to tell the truth about what they clearly saw, ”said Rev. Dr. Johnson.
The Rev. Dr. Johnson is the outgoing President of Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT). She also leads trauma healing and restoration programs for families and survivors of neighborhood violence through her ministries of Dr Joy Johnson.
“Over these many years our faith communities have prayed for justice in many cases and today we feel that justice has begun. This is an answer to a lot of prayer. Now we pray that justice will continue and overflow like a living stream. “
Reverend Kevin Ross, senior minister and unit CEO of the Sacramento International Spiritual Center, said he was optimistic for Tuesday’s announcement. Sacramento ACT board member Reverend Ross was arrested in March 2019 during a peaceful protest in the affluent Fab 40 neighborhood of East Sacramento over the district attorney’s decision not to file a complaint against two police officers who killed Stephon Clark locally a year ago.
“As I prepared for the worst, I prayed for the best,” said Reverend Ross.
The guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial was the proverbial shot of a global sociological dump valve and for the first time in nearly a year, the world watched the jury remove Chauvin’s knee from George Floyd’s neck. “For a while we could all breathe again,” said Reverend Ross.
“The jury was able to make such a bold position because virtually the whole world stood up and basically said, ‘Not under my watch’. However, the whole world shouldn’t be standing up to condemn a bad cop.
Echoing many other community leaders, Reverend Ross says the verdict was a victory, but it’s not justice.
“This case has created relief, but we must not rest until we have radically changed the system which has given a white officer such confidence that he would not be convicted, even if he did. kneeling on a black man’s neck in broad daylight, while being filmed for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, ”said Reverend Ross.
The time that Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck was initially estimated to be 8 minutes and 46 seconds. During the trial, this time turned out to be even longer.
“What we have achieved is a new precedent for accountability and the jury has warned bad law enforcement actors that you can and will be held accountable for their heinous and hate crimes against black bodies,” he said. declared Reverend Ross.
Placing federal laws like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, he says, will allow the country to move beyond accountability to justice.
“But, for real, when the verdict was announced, I took a break and partied with the ancestors, because for a while our union became one percent more perfect,” admitted the Reverend Ross.
Dr Tecoy Porter, who leads the Genesis Baptist Church in the Meadowview area and the Sacramento chapter of the Reverend Al Sharpton National Action Network, said he is also praying for systemic change to come.
“This is what I am, because I went there,” Dr. Porter said. “I vividly remember standing in the living room with Sequita Thompson, Sequette Clark and Stevante Clark talking to them, seeing their reaction after the DA told them that Stephon Clark had ‘committed suicide by a cop’.”
Genesis Church is a stone’s throw from Ms Thompson’s backyard where her grandson Stephon was fatally shot. Dr Porter remembers asking Stephon’s brother, Stevante, what he wanted to do at the time. He provided a forum for the family to address the city and the nation from his church.
“As for the ministers, pastors and all the community leaders in this space, when you are dealing with family members who have been victimized in this way and who have lost loved ones, anything you can do is to preach your version of faith to people and pray that faith will manifest in one form or another during our lifetime, ”explained Dr. Porter.
Dr. Porter is originally from Minnesota and helped plan George Floyd’s funeral services. He has returned to his original state several times to pray for and with Floyd’s family. He calls the verdict a “major milestone” which places a heavy burden on them. He prays that others will see similar results.
The Rev. Dr. Johnson said she was troubled by the previous legal proceedings.
“Since George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the murder of Trayvon Martin, I have felt that this nation is playing a horrible trick on what our own ears can hear and what our eyes can see. One after another, unarmed black men and women were shot dead by law enforcement to have all charges dropped again and again, ”she said.
“America told us that the breath and life inside a black person’s body was consumable and / or worthless. The more we shouted that the lives of our sons and daughters were unsustainable, the more we heard how enduring they are. We were lied to
and once again.
Reverend Dr. Johnson said his prayers for the future centered on the “calculation of a nation which was built on systems of false supremacy and which is supported by all the lies we have been told.”