When I first heard about the death of George Floyd, I felt sick. I watched on the news as a man lost his life at the hands, or tragically at the knee, of another man. I was heartbroken at the injustice, the disregard of human life and the obvious racism.
We have to call it like it is. It is racism. It’s looking down on someone’s life because of the colour of their skin, and not seeing them as worthy because their share is too different for you to accept as equal. It’s not allowing people to live because they were born into that body not by choice, but by the decisions of God.
This month alone there have been five similar cases – and it’s been almost five years to the day that Eric Garner uttered the same words as George Floyd as he slipped away: “I can’t breathe.” Closer to home, people in the UK who are part of ethnic minorities have been mistreated and abused, with no justice or care for them in the system we have in place; need I mention Grenfell.
Countless times the black community watch these tragedies, and it’s heart-breaking and it stirs up an anger so deep inside – yet no change comes around. Those who want to do something aren’t powerful enough, or are not of the right race to have their voice heard. Now, we’re tired. We’re tired of these situations playing out in the same horrific way.
What can we do? What can you do? As children and young people, you may not think much. But it can be as simple and stepping out in support and letting your voice be heard.
Everybody, no matter what race you are, needs to step up and speak out in righteous frustration at injustice. So start by making a statement, show the people in the positions of abuse that it’s not OK to do this. Write to your MP, if you can and with permission from your parents, sign petitions, show your support on social media.
Secondly, turn to God. God is with us in all this heartbreak and hurt. He is and always will be the peace that surpasses all understanding. He is the light at the end of this dark and gloomy tunnel. He is the purest form of love this world has ever seen and will see again.
But don’t run from reality because ‘God makes it OK’ – use your reality as a Christian to mediate situations, love others and stand up for wrong when you see it happening, just as Jesus did. He allowed himself to be angry when he saw people trading in the temple, he allowed himself to feel and be upset, he stood up for those cast aside and reached out a hand to people in distress – no matter of their differences to his way of life. He stood as a branch between Gentiles and Jews.
The black community is in distress – but you don’t have to be of the community to share in the pain. As a Kingdom of Christ we stand together in the injustice of our people. I encourage young people, if you need a reminder of how to behave and how to respond in times like these, ask yourself: what would Jesus do?
Cassandra Nelson is a presenter on Premier Gospel and Premier Praise.