February 26, 2012. A 17 year old, unarmed Black teen named Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked home from a convenience store. His killer was not even arrested at the time. Following outrage from around the country, he was eventually arrested and charged; only to be acquitted a year later. Unfortunately, Trayvon’s story is not an anomaly. It is a story all too familiar to BIPoC communities. Police brutality has been the norm for decades in America. Black citizens, men and boys in particular, are murdered by the hand of authority figures sworn to serve and protect the community. Since we learned Trayvon Martin’s name eight years ago, we have learned the names of so many others whose lives have been senselessly taken.
Each Friday at Augsburg, we hold 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence in honor of our brother, George Floyd and all those victims of police brutality and White supremacy.
Silence though, is not enough.
We must not let George Floyd and Trayvon Martin become just statistics. Their names must be spoken in order that they remain in our collective conscience. It is the least we can do, as we continue our work to end the violence against BIPoC communities due to White body supremacy.
Today and every day, let us speak their names.
Those whose names we do not know
Those whose names we have since forgotten
Most merciful God, let us continue to speak the names of your Beloved, our siblings whose earthly lives ended too soon because of violence and hatred. We pray today for an end to White supremacy, systemic racism, and all their effects. We know it is not your way for your Beloved children to kill one another, and certainly not because of the beautiful gift of diversity you have given us. Open our hearts to see one another as you see us. Equip us for the work of dismantling unjust systems and show us a path toward reconciliation and the true peace only you can provide. This we pray in the holy and sacred name of your Beloved, Christ Jesus. Amen.