For Immediate Release:
Friday, April 2, 2021
THE WORLD IS WATCHING THE DEREK CHAUVIN TRIAL
People around the world are watching the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, and Rev. Cecilia Eggleston says it’s a time for faith leaders to open dialogues in their communities about race, racism, and social justice.
Chauvin is accused of killing citizen George Floyd during what should have been a routine encounter last May. For more than nine minutes, Chauvin held Floyd’s neck beneath his knee, even as Floyd begged, cried out for his mother, and had a seizure. Numerous witnesses captured the killing on digital cameras.
“Some are wont to call this ‘the George Floyd trial,’ but Mr. Floyd is not on trial,” said Eggleston, moderator of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. “This trial is about Derek Chauvin’s actions, but it’s also representative of bigger issues that demand both discussion and resolution.
“No reasonable person believes Mr. Chauvin is representative of all law enforcement professionals, but far too many believe that people of color are criminals deserving of violent law enforcement tactics. This is simply wrong-headed and contrary to our faith and our work for social justice.
“As the trial progresses and, ultimately, a verdict is rendered, the time is right for community and faith leaders to have open dialogues within their own congregations and communities,” Eggleston said. “It may surprise many to find feelings of oppression and victimization within their own flocks, but these are lessons to be learned, no matter how difficult.
“Our denomination has long been on the forefront of social justice actions, and I know many congregational leaders in the UFMCC are already encouraging open and healing discussions,” Eggleston said. “We cannot let George Floyd’s death – nor Derek Chauvin’s trial – end without delving deeper into the social pathologies that – sadly – have made us who we are.” Eggleston said.