Joint Religious Legislative Coalition

Interfaith Advocacy for Social Justice

For George Floyd - Listen, Pray, Reflect and Take Action

 

Photograph of George Floyd from the Offices of Ben Crump Law

Our cities and our state are in shock and mourning as we watch what is happening in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Peaceful gatherings to protest the killing of another unarmed black man by police have escalated into blocks of looting, breaking windows and setting fire to buildings on both sides of the Mississippi River.

 

The actions of the police officers were inexcusable.  Anger, frustration and sadness are appropriate responses.  Early protests were nonviolent but simmering frustrations and anger led to the violence we’ve seen over the past days.

 

Our state has huge racial disparities in almost every possible measure:  households in poverty, homelessness, education, median income, criminal convictions and numerous others.  Many of the JRLC legislative priorities speak directly to these issues, addressing housing, safety net programs and criminalizing poverty.

 

Last night Minnesota’s faith leaders held a virtual interfaith prayer vigil to honor George Floyd and to speak about the need for change.  I keep coming back to the words shared by  Rev. Christian Briones of Mayflower Community Congregational United Church of Christ in Minneapolis (click here and watch from 26:16-30:45):

When I see the flames set to buildings, the broken glass, the chaos in the streets, I see a mirror. A mirror that America far too often refuses to look into. The rage expressed by damage to property is a reflection of the fire and destruction done to God's beloved in Black communities for centuries in this country. With every action and deed, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So when you see those pictures and videos, I ask that you see a reflection. This is not the Black community. America, this is who you are. 

 

None of us condone the looting and destruction.  But the focus needs to be on our broken system, one that creates very different realities and opportunities for white Minnesotans and for the indigenous Minnesotans and Minnesotans of color.

 

All of our faith traditions speak to justice and human dignity.  For all people.

 

Please take time to listen and learn.  Most Christians are familiar with the Prayer of St. Francis in which we ask God to make us an instrument of peace.  A key part of the prayer is seeking to understand the perspective of others, rather than seeking for others to understand ours.  I urge all of you to take time over the next week to listen.  Reach out to the people of color and native or indigenous people and ask them about their experiences. Listen for understanding.  And then ask them what you can do to walk with them in this struggle.  Share what you hear with your friends and neighbors.

 

I’m including links to two writings that address the need for action.  JRLC board member Rev. Dr. Curtiss DeYoung issued a moving statement on Wednesday, asking four things of Minnesota’s faith community.  Click here to read it. Today’s Star Tribune includes a thoughtful commentary from JRLC board member Imam Asad Zaman with specific recommendations for change.  Click here to read it. I encourage you to read and prayerfully consider their words.

 

Pray for our state, our cities, our leaders, our people of color, our law enforcement officers, our small business owners and our immigrants.  For our neighbors and for all Minnesotans. Pray for understanding - and then take action to address this injustice.

 

Take and give care.

Anne

Our four faith traditions


Catholic
Protestant
Jewish
Muslim
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The largest and most inclusive interfaith public interest group in Minnesota

What's happening now?

COVID-19 affects the wellbeing of our communities and exacerbates existing inequities. The JRLC continues to advocate for those most vulnerable during this time. To learn about our stances on emergency MFIP payments, child care provider rates, and driver's license suspensions, read our issue briefs.
 
 
 

Virtual district meetings are happening across the state! Thank you to those who have been able to participate so far. These meetings are a great way to connect with others in your area as well as your elected officials. 

Anne Krisnik, the JRLC's Executive Director, was interviewed about recent policies going into effect that make child care more accessible for low-income families. JRLC is a member of the Kids Can't Wait Coalition that works to implement policies that will benefit children, families, and the state of Minnesota. Read More...

For the JRLC's first Faith Forum, the Islamic Resource Group's Naaima Khan spoke about Islam and Ramadan. We are working on new, virtual programming, and the conversation offered Minnesotans across the state a chance to learn more about one of the JRLC's faith traditions. 

In October, guests from Saudi Arabia joined JRLC staff  to discuss the importance of inter-faith dialogue as well as public and religious education in Minnesota. They visited as part of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program.

Meet our Members

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Patrice Critchley-Menor, Duluth

Patrice, from the Office of the Social Aspostolate in the Catholic Diocese of Duluth,  is a JRLC board member and has been an active and tireless advocate for Minnesotans who are struggling.  She loves to talk about the JRLC and the importance of the faith voice in the policy debate.  Look for her at Day on the Hill!