The North Carolina Council of Churches was founded in 1935, primarily for the purpose of addressing racial inequity and racial injustice, and we strive to do so to this day. As people of faith, we believe the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial is only a small step toward holding police accountable for the use of excessive force against people of color. We also believe that current law enforcement practices are part of a larger system of white supremacy culture that devalues the humanity of people of color and must be addressed to purge our nation of the corroding sin of racism.
To that end we call on all people, but particularly on white people of faith and the historically white denominations that make up the North Carolina Council of Churches, to:
- Confess our own complicity in systems of white supremacy that perpetuate racial injustice, including religious, financial, educational, healthcare, governmental, and judicial institutions that have historically disenfranchised people of color.
- Call on elected leaders to propose and pass legislation that dismantles the systems that continue to allow disenfranchisement of people of color.
- Examine the racial bias evident in law enforcement and pass laws, such as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, to ban chokeholds and strangle holds, implement use-of-force continuums and duty to intervene, institute de-escalation training, strengthen diversity and inclusion training, and require comprehensive community reporting.
- Learn the truth about racism in this nation, including the genocide against indigenous people, the enslavement of African people and the horrors of lynching, the exploitation of immigrants from China, Mexico, Central America, and others.
- We commit to making the work of dismantling racism a priority to the congregations we represent and call on them to join us in this movement in our communities, at the ballot box, in our justice system, and in our legislative bodies.
We recognize there are deeply ingrained opinions about today’s verdict, but as Christians we are compelled to speak out against all brutality and to proclaim the intrinsic value of all human life. In full recognition of Derek Chauvin’s humanity, we denounce the systems that trained and equipped him.
We grieve with the family of George Floyd and so many others trapped by circumstances they did not create, which too often claims their lives. We lament that these situations continue to plague our nation, and we pledge ourselves to action so the promise of justice revealed in the scriptures of our faith and named in our nation’s founding documents may be realized for all.