Following Chauvin Verdict, CHHSM Releases Statement Asking, ‘How are the Children?’

photo credit: Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

The UCC’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries today (April 26) released a statement to its member organizations and related institutions regarding the verdict issued by the jury last week in the Derek Chauvin case. “In the Wake of the Verdict, How are the Children?” highlights the difficult questions that need to be asked even as more children and young adults are slain by police.

“As we have been processing the trial of Derek Chauvin and the children and adults recently slain by police, we cannot say that the children are well,” the statement reads, and then lists a litany of ways in which our children are endangered:

“The children are dying at the hands of those who swear to protect, like Adam Toledo and Ma’khia Bryant.

“The children are the witnesses to something they should never have to see, like Darnella Frazier, and Judeah Reynolds.

“The children are left behind, like Gianna Floyd and the 1-year-old son of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

“The children are never born, like those dreamed of by Breonna Taylor.”

The statement reiterates the belief that while the Chauvin case has served accountability, justice has not been fulfilled. It cites the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther Jr.’s 1963 eulogy for the victims of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.: “We must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, and the philosophy that produced the murderers.”

The statement enumerates some of the many questions that continue needing to be asked:

  • Who benefits from policing, as is? Who is harmed and who inadvertently suffers?
  • Is there police reform in the City of God? Is there abolition?
  • What are those with lived experience of this pain saying? Who is listening?
  • How is Spirit speaking in communities who provide safety, security, and support for themselves? What is God asking of us?

The CHHSM staff closes its statement by urging members and friends to “heed the Spirit’s call to Ezekiel: ‘Prophesy to the wind; prophesy mere mortal, and say to it … breathe on these slain, that they may live’ (Ez. 37:9).”

Here is the entire text of the CHHSM statement, released April 26, 2021:

In the Wake of the Verdict, How are the Children?

“A question that has been alive in hearts of the CHHSM staff is ‘And how are the children?’ — or as said in the traditional greeting of the Masai warriors, “Kasserian Ingera.” The customary response from these warriors is, ‘All the children are well.’ As preached by the Rev. Traci Blackmon of the UCC’s Justice and Local Church Ministries on several occasions, this simple but deep question illustrates the high value the Masai people place on children’s well-being and how it reflects their community’s well-being as a whole.

“As we have been processing the trial of Derek Chauvin and the children and young adults recently slain by police, we cannot say that the children are well.

“The children are dying at the hands of those who swear to protect, like Adam Toledo and Ma’khia Bryant.

“The children are witnesses to something they should never have to see, like Darnella Frazier and Judeah Reynolds.

“The children are left behind, like Gianna Floyd and the one-year-old son of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

“The children are never born, like those dreamed of by Breonna Taylor.

“We cannot say that we are well. Even while accountability has been served to one of the officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s death, justice has not been fulfilled. “A temporary reprieve from the gaslighting is not a synonym for justice,” writes author Sonya Renee Taylor. This important framing echoes the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s eulogy for Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Carol Denise McNair in a Birmingham church in 1963: ‘We must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, and the philosophy that produced the murderers.’

“In this profound question about children, what wisdom might the inquisitive nature of children have to offer us? What questions are we asking, and from whom are we seeking answers?

“Who benefits from policing, as is? Who is harmed and who inadvertently suffers?

“Is there police reform in the City of God? Is there abolition?

“What are those with lived experience of this pain saying? Who is listening?

“How is Spirit speaking in communities who provide safety, security, and support for themselves? What is God asking of us?

“To all of you working to create a more just, caring, and compassionate world, we write from a litany of questions and a multitude of responses. We write, as we find our way, together, to heed the Spirit’s call to Ezekiel: ‘Prophesy to the wind; prophesy mere mortal, and say to it … breathe on these slain, that they may live’ (Ez. 37:9).”

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Finding new staff members for leadership and ordained roles can be a difficult and long process, but CHHSM and the UCC have two free services to assist our organizations in those searches. As most people affiliated with CHHSM agencies know, each month, Diakonie publishes current opportunities that CHHSM members have sent in. But there is an even wider net open to all CHHSM agencies: the UCC Ministry Opportunities Listing. Learn more about both options. #BeAVoiceCHHSM www.chhsm.org/news/ucc-ministry-opportunities-listing-provides-additional-avenue-for-chhsm-agenci... ... See MoreSee Less
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