The Sisters of Charity of New York stand in solidarity with all who are enraged and distressed by the cruel and senseless killing of George Floyd.
This action, committed in fewer than nine minutes by a professional police officer, a man entrusted to uphold the law and provide crucial assistance to the people of Minneapolis, has raised national issues of racism and uncontrolled brutality on the part of some members of law enforcement. Mr. Floyd’s unheeded desperate plea, “I can’t breathe,” strikes a deep chord of angry indignation within us. Racism and violence are inherent in our past. It cannot be part of our present lives or our future vision.
We continue to support and promote free speech across our country. Peaceful demonstrations help us focus our energies and strengthen our resolve for change. During the past week, we have witnessed the reprehensible expansion of protests by people planning destruction and looting. Our lament cannot and should not be expressed in ways that are harmful or destructive to life and property.
As women religious, we stand with Pope Francis, who has condemned racism and street violence, and urged reconciliation. We also support the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who ask, “How is it possible that in America, a black man’s life can be taken from him while calls for help are not answered, and his killing is recorded as it happens?”
We, the Sisters of Charity of New York, are committed to the love of God and others, based on the principles of justice, truth, and respect. We consider the diversity of people in our city, our nation, and our world as the expansiveness of God’s gift of creation. In our families and communities, racism must give way to awareness, respect, and gratitude, especially for people of color.