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As Another Life is Taken by Police, Jewish, Christian and Muslim Faith Leaders Come Together to Lament Those Lost to State-Sanctioned Violence


Thursday, April 14, 2022


Austin Schuler, aschuler@faithinpubliclife.org,

As Another Life is Taken by Police, Jewish, Christian and Muslim Faith Leaders Come Together to Lament Those Lost to State-Sanctioned Violence

During the season of Ramadan, Passover and Easter, faith leaders around the country call for justice

Columbus, OH– Videos have been released of a white officer fatally shooting Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old Black man, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith leaders came together to lament lives lost from state-sanctioned violence. The group of multi-faith leaders remembered the lives lost at the hands of the local, state and federal governments. Faith leaders spoke to why this is a unique opportunity to mourn and call for an end to violence against our people, from all of our rich traditions. 

For video of the event, click here.

Rev. Dr. Susan Smith, Crazy Faith Ministries (Columbus, OH) 

“In the end, the voices and spirits of our loved ones, either buried underground or buried in captivity in prison cells cry out, begging us never to give up fighting for their humanity. And to them, I say, we will never…stop…fighting. Our love for you, our love for God and our love for justice will push us, even when we want to stop, but we won’t. In this society, the lack of love has caused too much suffering but in love, we will never stop fighting.”

Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp, Temple Shalom (Cincinnati, OH)

“Each of us has a story in our lives where we, or a family member, or an ancestor, rejected the way the world was and who the world said that we were and reclaimed our agency in pursuit of a new dream…Sometimes it’s our cries that awaken change. Sometimes it’s our vulnerability that builds coalitions. Sometimes it’s our courage that pushes us closer to our next chapter.” 

Rev. Phillip Baber, The People’s Church of Jacksonville (Jacksonville, FL) 

“Today, there is a class of Christians who earnestly believes they are following Jesus. But, in actuality, they are sleepwalking through a dream. The American Dream: a peace and prosperity within our borders, not unlike the so-called Pax Romana, enjoyed by Roman citizens in the days of Jesus. But historians today tell us that the great peace and prosperity of the Pax Romana was built upon decades and centuries of colonization; the stolen labor and blood of enslaved peoples; military incursions against foreigners beyond the borders of the empire; and brutal police actions within the empire to crush political dissidents and the impoverished. Two thousand years later, we are living in the midst of the Pax Americana, built on the exact same principles, following the exact same blueprint.”   

Rev. Dr. William Flippin, Jr., Ecumenical/Interfaith Coordinator for The National Black Church Initiative, Pastor, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Atlanta, GA)

“Our Creator is waiting for us to walk in the way of justice.  When we do this, we will be reconciled, renewed and rejuvenated. We will be what our Creator has called us to be.” 

Minister Christian Watkins, Justice Systems Reform Government Relations Advocate, Network Lobby (Washington, DC)  

“We can’t afford to sit still! Beloved, we gotta pray and not play, with our hands and our feet, no matter how many nails are in them. Yes, our backs may be against the cross, fighting and marching for our lives, we gotta pray, church! You might be stuck between a rock and a hard place; in the midst of criminals that steal your joy, those who kill our family and destroy our communities, we can’t afford to sit and play innocent as spectators on the sidelines. Beloved there’s too much work to be done…with our family and friends, and in communities all across the land, to bring some of this chaos to some end.”

Dr. Maha Hilal, Founder & Executive Director, Muslim Counterpublics Lab (Washington, DC)

“When we come together as faith leaders we should not just celebrate the similarities of our beliefs but to reflect on the pain in the world and the role we all play in causing that pain.”

Faith in Public Life is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, with a network of over 50,000 leaders, they are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level that affirm our values and the human dignity of all.

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