After nationwide protests and vandalism sparked by outrage over the death of George Floyd, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber called for America to confront the ‘interlocking injustices’ facing our country.
In “A Pastoral Letter to the Nation” the founder of the Moral Monday movement called Floyd’s death a tipping point to take a deeper look at what has caused these demonstrations.
“The lethal violence of these racist officers and others is only one manifestation of the systemic racism that is choking the life out of the American democracy.”
Barber said the nation must confront systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation and the denial of healthcare.
He said Floyd’s brutal death captured on video should be enough to help understand the emotional outburst of demonstrators this week, but that’s not the only thing sparking the public’s outrage.
“But it comes after the compounded death of and deadliness of a pandemic that has wreaked havoc on poor and low-income communities across this nation, especially communities of color. More than 100,000 people have said ‘I can’t breathe.’ And this disease choked them to death.”
Barber said in some cities where racial data is available, Black people are six times as likely to die from the coronavirus as their white counterparts.
Click below to listen to Rev. Barber discuss racism and racial disparities:
And as cities began cleaning-up after Saturday’s protest, Rev. Barber cautioned against trying to return to normal too quickly without reflecting on a history of events that led to these actions.
“If we take time to listen to this nation’s wounds, they tell us where to look for hope. The hope is in the mourning…The hope is in the very thing that makes us want to rush from this place,” explained Barber.
“It is only if these screams and tears and protests shake the very conscience of this nation …until there is real political and judicial repentance, can we hope for a better society on the other side of this.”
Rev. Barber and other members of the Poor People’s Campaign are planning a national call for moral revival next month. Click here to learn more about the digital Moral March on Washington, on June 20th.