ECCO Vigil and Implicit Bias Training: Responding to the Police Shootings of Black men in MN and LA

July 8, 2016

This week, we have witnessed two more senseless deaths of young Black men killed extrajudicially at the hands of police — Philando Castile in St. Paul, MN and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA. Immediately following news of the killings, I received calls, texts and voice notes from parents and youth alike expressing anger, outrage, fear and hurt.  One young boy asked me, “Does just being Black make me a criminal?”  What do I tell the youth at Zion Baptist…how do I comfort them, be honest with them and yet restore their hope in a system that is clearly uneven?

In times like these, when it is so easy to turn inward and shut down, we invite you to turn to each other and join together in mourning, prayer, and action to prevent this from happening again here in MA.

Then, join us this tuesday, for a vigil to mourn these recent deaths, and engage in implicit bias training with the Lynn police. RSVP Here

We are grateful to the Lynn Police Department for working with us to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening closer to home.  We will meet with them for implict bias training on Wednesday, and then meet together directly after the training to discuss next steps.

  • Tuesday, 7/12, 6-9pm at Bethel AME, 72 Silsbee St. in Lynn, join us for prayer, lament, and action
  • Wednesday, 7/13, 10-noon, Implicit Bias Training with the Lynn Police Department, 300 Washington St., Lynn.
  • Wednesday, 7/13, immediately after training, join us to discuss next steps, and let us know if you have ideas.

We are not alone. Our brothers and sisters in MCAN have also begun to take action. This evening, members of Brockton Interfaith Community will join others in a rally at 7 pm. I encourage you to join them in prayer at that time- extending prayers of safety for all involved.

Also, this weekend, PICO and our Live Free campaign are asking you to join a National Sabbath Weekend to End Police Police Killings and Mass Criminalization. Join our network of thousands of congregations and faith leaders to build POWER to resist this epidemic of bias and racism.

Can you join us and PREACH a message of power and healing acknowledging the trauma impacting Black and Brown and poor people by systemic violence?

Can you join us and PRAY for boldness and courage to resist the evils of racism, police abuse and mass criminalization?

Can you join us and ACT by committing to build powerful actions in your congregation using the Body (the power of your congregation, denomination and its members), The Ballot (the power of your vote) and The Buck (the power of your pocketbook) to transform systems, change policies and hold our elected officials accountable?

Stand with us today: Sign up to join the LIVE FREE Sabbath movement July 8-10, 2016.

Wherever we are, we have a God-given responsibility to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. God has called us to action.  In my own faith tradition, Jesus demonstrated this when He gave His life for ALL our lives – BLACK, white, Asian and Latinos!!  I pray you will join me in taking a stand.

In prayer, fear, and grief,

Rev. Andre Bennett, Ed.d.

P.s. See here for a powerful article from the New York Times by Rev. Michael Eric Dyson, What White America Fails to See


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