The Love Your Neighbor Coalition has issued the following statement in response to the mistrial in the case of Michael Dunn, who was on trial for the murder of Jordan Davis in Florida:
Florida has witnessed yet another innocent, unarmed, young black man killed, and once again no one was held accountable. The very need to use descriptors like innocent and unarmed for a black man, when that is implicit if we were to say a young white man, outlines the racism that infects our communities.
Jordan Russell Davis was the victim of a culture that increasingly devalues young black men. This culture gives the benefit of the doubt to a white man who shoots an unarmed teenager. This culture wants to believe it has moved beyond prejudice, but continues to allow the evils of racism to wreak havoc upon black families leaving sorrow and empty promises in its wake. This racism thrives on the same fear that fed lynchings a half-century ago, and this day took the form of a bullet riddled car filled with black youth, and a murdered Jordan Davis.
This is racism reinforced by new Jim Crow laws affording white people the right to stand their ground, people of color the burden of being stopped and frisked, and private companies profit from incarcerating young men of color. These abhorrent practices run contrary to the law of love as witnessed in the life of Jesus Christ. We cannot remain silent and sit by as the laws that govern this country pit white men against black boys.
Stand Your Ground laws are still on the books in many states. These dangerous laws legalize vigilante homicide and shield killers from dealing with the consequences of their actions. Please join us in calling on elected officials across the country to stand against shoot first laws. Political and religious leaders, supporters and followers must band together and decree 2014 the beginning of the end of an era of terror on our young black men, affording them the same access to life, liberty, and security.
Reconciling Ministries Network, along with our Love Your Neighbor coalition partners, aspire to fulfill our baptismal covenant to recognize and utilize our privileges to resist oppression in whatever form it presents itself in our movement, church, and world. We have a commitment to ending institutional oppression in all its forms by working at the intersections of injustice. We will continue to strive to create Beloved Community, as imagined by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Love Your Neighbor Coalition is an alliance of progressive, independent United Methodist affiliate groups. The coalition includes: Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns; Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR); Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA); National Federation of Asian American United Methodists (NFAAUM); Native American International Caucus of United Methodists (NAIC); Pacific Islanders Caucus of United Methodists (PINCUM); Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN); and, United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities.