The following remarks were presented by the Rev. Dr. Jennifer Copeland, Executive Director, during the public gathering and clergy march in Elizabeth City after the recent death of Andrew Brown, Jr on May 8th. Click here for the full recording.
I greet you on behalf of the N.C. Council of Churches and the 18 denominations we represent. And I share these words from the Gospel of Matthew: “A voice was heard . . ., wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more” (Matthew 2:18).
This weeping documented by Matthew occurred after the state sanctioned killing of all the Jewish boys under two in Herod’s demonic quest to retain power when he learned of the birth of Jesus.
- State sanctioned killing.
- Power hungry leaders.
- Mothers wailing.
It’s the day before Mother’s Day and here we are gathered because of another killing by people in power. We are all wailing, not just the mothers. But especially, maybe on this day before Mother’s Day, we could pay homage to the pain the mothers hold in their hands. So much pain.
- Lives cut short.
- Dreams unfulfilled.
- Grandchildren that will never be rocked because the children were killed before they had the chance to become parents.
You see the pain of the state sanctioned killing by power hungry leaders scars us for generations.
We are in Elizabeth City to make sure no one gets distracted from the killing of Andrew Brown, Jr., and the pain it has caused. But it’s not that hard for us to come to Elizabeth City and show our solidarity. A few hours in the car, a day away from home. But if this is all we do, we could have stayed home. What we must do now is return home and start dismantling racism.
- No more state sanctioned killing by denying healthcare—expand Medicaid already.
- No more state sanctioned killing by paying wages so low people can’t afford to feed their children—raise the minimum wage already.
- No more state sanctioned killing by imposing severe voting restrictions that prevent people from electing people who will pass laws to stop the killing.
Our task when we leave Elizabeth City is to go into the halls of power and confront the power hungry leaders. We must force them to stop the killing. And then, only then, will the mothers stop wailing. Thank you.