This article is part of the Arc of Justice series, responding to the killing of George Floyd and the international movement it has sparked.
In the aftermath of the death of George Floyd and as protests swept across hundreds of cities, the Bruderhof convened a virtual meeting with local leaders in our neighboring town of Kingston in Ulster County, New York. Pastor Heinrich Arnold moderated the conversation with Reverend James Childs, pastor of a Kingston nondenominational church; Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa; Dr. Edward Lawson of the Department of Black Studies at SUNY New Paltz; Pastor Malcolm Johnson, of the Bruderhof’s Kingston community house; Colonel Jerome M. John, superintendent of the Ulster County Jail; and Ian Winter, director of the Breaking the Cycle program. The following is an edited transcript of this conversation, which took place on June 11, 2020.
Pastor Heinrich Arnold: As we know, our country is going through upheaval as we face issues of racism following the death of George Floyd, murdered in Minneapolis by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer. A movement of protest against racism has swept our country, accompanied by unrest, rioting, and an outcry against law enforcement, including calls to defund police.
Today we’d like to have a conversation about how these issues affect us in our different communities. More importantly, we want to ask: What is our responsibility as people of faith? How do we come together and address urgent issues, and also heed the call to unity, to healing, to love?