Board of Bishops statement regarding the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict
Once again this nation has witnessed the bias of the American Justice System as Kyle Rittenhouse has been acquitted on all charges. We are not surprised by the outcome but we are righteously angry at the two systems of “justice” in this country.
If a black teenager with an assault rifle killed two people while claiming self-defense, we know the outcome would have been very different. In fact, 12-year old Tamir Rice was killed while playing with a toy gun, and countless unarmed blacks have been considered dangerous and killed by police. Rittenhouse, armed with an AR-15 benefits from a presumption of innocence that remains unavailable to black and brown people, even unarmed, in this country.
Although some say that the system is broken, we’ve come to conclude that the system is working as designed. This truth must be boldly acknowledged, confronted, and changed in order for liberty and justice for all to become actualized.
As we await the outcome of the trial of the three men charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black young man who was jogging through their neighborhood, once again we are reminded of the toxic effects of white privilege.
The verdict in the Rittenhouse Case will only serve to emboldened the use of assault weapons, and increase violence towards peaceful protesters, and others, under the guise of self-defense. A Republican Congressman from NC, Madison Cawthorn, has already called for his followers to also “be armed and dangerous…”
James Baldwin stated; “To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” It is a tragic reality that it is also spiritually and emotionally exhausting.
However, as people of faith, hope, and love, who are called to GOD-given freedom, we must never surrender to ultimate despair. We are to constantly confront the evil of institutional racism in the legal system, in education policies, employment practices, in the political arena, and even in the church.
Your Board of Bishops of The Freedom Church invites you to join us in continued praying, advocating, protesting, and working for true justice that produces peace and healing.
The Board of Bishops
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church,
Bishop Kenneth Monroe, President and Senior Bishop
Bishop Darryl B. Starnes, Sr.
Bishop Dennis V. Proctor
Bishop Mildred B. Hines
Bishop W. Darin Moore
Bishop Seth O. Lartey
Bishop Michael A. Frencher, Sr.
Bishop George D. Crenshaw
Bishop Hilliard Dogbe
Bishop U.U. Effiong
Bishop Brian R. Thompson, Sr.
Bishop Eric L. Leake
Bishop Joseph Johnson
Bishop Marshall H. Strickland
Bishop Nathaniel Jarrett, Jr.
Bishop George W. C. Walker, Sr.
Bishop S. Chuka Ekemam, Sr.
Bishop Warren M. Brown
Bishop George E. Battle, Jr.