Remarks for Governor's Meeting with Faith Leaders
Last week we had a death in the family – our brother George was murdered. We should mourn. We should be angry and hurt. And, we should heed the wishes of the Floyd family, and not dishonor his gentle memory by spreading the sickness of violence.
Rather, we need peaceful action to stop the hatred that has ended the lives of countless black Americans. There is power in peace. Nonviolence has toppled empires and corrected injustice, and it can work again. Remember, mercy is not weakness. Cruelty is not strength.
But, peaceful action also means justice, setting things right, which is where any discussion of a proportionate response must start.
Melodious and smooth words will not do. We urgently need to reform the laws that underpin the establishment of exclusion. We must pass legislation that guarantees equal opportunity for employment and access to quality education and health care. But better policies and reforms will only be as effective as the conversion of hearts. For what lives in the hearts of those who make and enforce our laws matters as much as the laws themselves.
We know there is a contagion spreading across the land, not only the coronavirus, but racism. We can stop it. And that begins by making the unwavering commitment today to cleanse our hearts so that it will not infect our homes, and our children. There is no room for bystanders here, because this virus threatens us all. Racism is the red thread that runs through the binding that holds America back from reaching its promise: equality and justice for all.
Its costs can be measured in lost educational attainment, poor health outcomes and diminished employment opportunity. But its greatest cost is the toll it exacts on our national soul.
This is why we must resolve to turn this heartbreak into action. And people of faith need to take the lead, for we know that even the darkest deeds can be redeemed by love. And love is what is called for now.It is not the love of transactional friendships and cheap associations made by the click of a mouse button or an easy retweet. Signpost solidarity will not do. Only the hard work of familial love will set us on the path toward justice. The love we read about in Scripture. The love God has for his children, every one of us, even when we fail — especially when we fail. God knows how we can fail in our humanity, but even more, God knows how we can build it up. So, let us show God, show ourselves, show all our brothers and sisters, the neighbors we know and the ones we will never meet, how deeply we can love.