Reasons for Protests

By Ty Salvant

The way in which we discuss with our children the current protests fueled by the death of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis and events leading up to them will have a large impact on where they choose to focus and what they will pray for in the end.

There are too many events over the past few years to include here, but recent ones that are main catalysts to open an honest conversation with our children include:

  • The shooting death of Amaud Arbery Feb. 23, 2020, followed by months of silence, a prosecutor recusing himself, a DA refusing to prosecute and writing a letter to the police department stating a lack of cause for arrest. It wasn’t until May, when a video of Amaud’s execution was leaked causing massive outrage that led to arrests in the case. Many people nationwide ran in solidarity with Amaud on his birthday, May 23.
  • Just a few days later, Amy Cooper called the police falsely claiming that an African American man was attacking her and her dog in New York City’s Central Park. Video footage was available of an outraged white woman threatening to call the police on Christian Cooper because he asked her to follow park laws to leash her dog.
  • On May 13, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed during a no-knock warrant where the police department subsequently gave conflicting statements about the events that occurred that night and arrested her husband for protecting her and their home from an intruder. For weeks, her family didn’t receive information until the attorney for Amaud Arbery’s family took on her case.
  • Just 12 hours after the Central Park story broke, graphic video of George Floyd being pinned down on the ground by police officers, one of whom knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, infiltrated our airwaves.
  • Within days of that murder, a Georgia pastor was arrested for falsifying a police report about two black men kidnapping him to cover up an attempted rendezvous with a male prostitute in a motel.
  • As if that weren’t enough, the same week a white woman in Florida accused a black man of kidnapping and murdering her son in an attempt to cover up her own crime. Even with video footage, justice for black and brown men and women isn’t always guaranteed. Crimes committed by officers of the law seem to be covered up, violent vigilantes get off under the guise of “standing their ground”, and, too often, there is presumption of guilt (rather than the presumption of innocence that all citizens are entitled to) when white individuals make false claims against people of color.

While the world protests George Floyd’s death, black and brown Americans are protesting a series of events that have plagued our community for centuries.

In our house with our children ranging in age from 17 months to age 18, we have discussed the series of events which led to worldwide protests. While we acknowledge that all police officers aren’t bad, we discuss how systemic racism can corrupt an institution. I like to expound on the analogy of the “bad apples.” If the rotten apple isn’t removed, the others around it will decay as well.

In our prayers, we include those who have lost their lives as well as those who are left behind. We discuss the trauma associated with false allegations and the burden of having racist people in our society. We pray for a conversion of hearts for those struggling with the sin of racism, and we thank God for the allies who are working hard to positively change the world.

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