Update: Since making the statement below following the killings of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling, there are now many unanswered questions surrounding the recent Louisville police shooting of Darnell Wicker. We further stress the need for systemic changes in the way we police our neighborhoods and name again the continued biased treatment toward people of color in our community and elsewhere. We name the continued presumption of danger and escalated response of police as a major factor in the continued loss of life for unarmed people of color.
Sowing a Nonviolent City:
Joining the Call for an End of Excessive Use of Force by Police
A statement from the Board
Sowers of Justice Network, Louisville, KY
The Sowers of Justice Network finds the pattern of profiling, intimidation and excessive police force unacceptable. These practices must end. Soul searching, listening and practical actions are needed and to end deaths, shootings, and other intimidation from excessive police force in the nation, in our state and in our city
The violent events of these past weeks challenge us to claim our identity and vision as people of faith working with people of good will to change the conditions that create life-and-death consequences of deeply embedded racism and violence. Racism finds people of color too often staring at the dangerous end of a weapon wielded by police. Profiled traffic stops, searches, and bookings for minor infractions are handled much differently for white men, women and children. This must be corrected.
Sowing a Nonviolent City means overgrowing political and media sources of anger with nonviolence, compassion and peace. The narrative of violence and fear brands entire groups of people (Muslims, gays, blacks, police, refugees, immigrants and Latinos) as presumptive enemies. Specific government activities, postures and inflammatory comments keep people of color in an unequal place designed in past centuries and must end. The media must be held accountable for their role in this as well.
We believe that actions showing good faith and good will offer the way to a Nonviolent City through community conversations, spiritual practice, oversight and moral determination as opposed to hateful words and oppressive tactics. Where lack of community and trust dangerously erodes civil conversation and civil rights, we claim our right to peace against the rhetoric of racism, the bigotry of exclusion and the narratives that blame the victim. We stand in active solidarity for and with people of color who too long have been assigned dubious motives, faulty character, and dangerous qualities simply by the color of their skin.
We offer the Sowers of Justice Network as a resource to all (especially those of white people of faith) to declare their servant hood, their intent for reparation and focused actions to change government-sponsored excessive use of force and other equally unacceptable realities of structural racism.