Commentary: Newport Mesa Interfaith Council urges that we examine our own biases in this time of unrest

The mural and makeshift memorial outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis.
The mural and makeshift memorial outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis, where George Floyd died while in the custody of a Minneapolis police officer.
(Los Angeles Times)

Newport Mesa Irvine Interfaith Council condemns the death of George Floyd in police custody.

It is an affront to God to take life, especially in such an unjust manner. We urge our community to stand against systemic racism wherever it is found.

It is indeed a time of self-reflection for all of us as we identify even the smallest racial biases in ourselves and our social circles.

Let us be the voice that calls for equality, and denounce inequality and injustice based on race, religion, gender identity or nationality.

The religions of the world remind us that God created all human beings to be equal. Every one of us needs to strive to zealously implement that ideal in our daily life.

While this alleged atrocity was perpetrated by a police officer with three more participating or watching, we want to acknowledge that the majority of police officers are decent human beings who put their lives on the line to protect life and property.

We appeal to those good officers to actively isolate and remove from ranks those who abuse their power illegally, giving everyone a bad name. Policing should never be reduced to police versus those who are being policed.

If policing is performed from anywhere but the same side as the community members, it becomes an instrument of tyranny.

Any organization that has been armed by our Constitution is also bound by the oath to protect everyone in the country, whether that person is a suspect, accused or even convicted.

Lastly, we believe that looting, arson and rioting is not the answer. It is timely here to recall the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who proclaimed that riots are the language of the unheard.

Let us not allow such images to dull our enthusiasm to support the cause of equality and justice. For this is a long struggle, a struggle that may outlast our lifetimes to undo the damage that has been carried out over several generations and still perpetuated today.

As an Interfaith Council we pray that it ends much sooner, so no other generations may experience what too many people of color suffer in our nation.

Join us in our prayer for meaningful peace with justice.


Akbar Hussaini is executive director of the Newport Mesa Irvine Interfaith Council.

The Rev. Dr. Sarah Halverson-Cano is president of the council.

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