ONE Wake Statement on Killing of George Floyd and Systemic Racism

African Americans live with the constant threat of death by people who are sworn to serve and protect us.  People are marching, crying and rioting because of a long history of atrocities by a justice system that targets, tickets, incarcerates, intimidates, brutalizes, and kills African Americans. 

The national rage in response to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement gives voice to the depth of pain experienced by people of color, especially Black people, and the choking effects of the legacy of white supremacy. 

The world recently witnessed the brutal execution by four police officers of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was down, handcuffed, and not resisting arrest while an officer sworn to protect and serve forced his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck for almost 9 long minutes, despite Mr. Floyd’s plaintive pleas that he could not breathe and the cries of surrounding onlookers. Mr. Floyd joins a long list of African Americans recently murdered by police officers. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others reminds us that the Liberty Bell does not toll for them.

We, the member organizations of ONE Wake, recognize these deaths for what they are - racist murders perpetrated and excused by a corrupt and unjust system. We know that in America, an African American is three times more likely to be executed on the spot by police than a white person –  even an armed white person. We know that Black people are disproportionately likely to be arrested, imprisoned, and killed by police; this is all a consequence and continuation of America’s original sin of racism.

We, the members of ONE Wake, acknowledge that this racism influences all facets of our society.  Our faiths command us to not only do justice, but specifically that we “Do not stand idly by while your neighbor’s blood is shed.” (Leviticus 19:16). We mourn and pray for all who are victimized by racism in America, for the Floyd, Taylor, and Arbery families, as well as the countless other families who mourn and who never found justice.

As we mourn and pray, we commit to listen, and to act. We stand in solidarity and walk with all who work to dismantle racism, including the men, women and children who have been filling streets across America in protest.

We support the ongoing work of the national organizations engaged in these issues, and join as allies with the local organizations which fight for justice here in Wake County. 

We, the members of ONE Wake, stand with the seekers of justice. We are united by our commitment to organize power to move the world as it is towards the world as it should be.