An Open Letter from the Faith Community

June 3, 2020

An Open Letter from the Faith Community

The horrific killing of George Floyd, at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers, as he lay handcuffed on the ground is etched in our hearts and minds. It was too much. Across our beloved nation, voices are rising to protest the systemic racial inequities and injustices that plague our lives. Together, the Greater Attleboro Interfaith Network (GAIN) and Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative constructed this response to that tragic event. We offer our deepest sympathy to the Floyd family. Our hearts are broken and we grieve with you over the death of your family member.

As a result of the heinous act, unbridled rage, pain, protests and violence have been unleashed throughout America. We pray for the soul of this nation. While we do not condone violence, we understand that Mr. Floyd’s death symbolizes generations of enduring systemic racism that has claimed many lives and dreams of black and brown persons. We are sorry that protestors are worried that they will be the next George Floyd, Ahmoud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others unjustly lost. Compounding the fear, sadly, black and brown persons experience disproportionately lower access to education, jobs, housing, health care and a higher incidence of excessive force by police. Recent COVID 19 data shows black and brown persons are infected and die at a higher rate than the rest of the population. We mourn all of the more than 100,000 people who died after contracting COVID 19. We grieve with those who are hurting and we share their outrage at the white privilege that is embedded so deeply in our country’s systems.

We condemn racism, bigotry, hatred, and xenophobia. We know that it is not possible to fight our way out of violence, only love can do that. We can’t hate our way out of racism, only love can do that. We can’t answer brutality with brutality, that’s a job for love. Love of ourselves, love of our families, love of our communities, will guide us to find a new way. Because love is the most endurable power in the universe – death is not…

We are committed to seek systemic change in practices and policies to achieve equity and justice for all. Today, we are reaching out to the community. Together, let us reach out to one another, dialogue with each other. Let us comfort one another. Let us find the empathy and love to take action that will end systemic racism. Let us take an action that acknowledges the inequities; let us grieve; let us move forward with an action of love for our neighbor. Let us take an action at the ballot box. Let us take an action to honor life and the right to live in peace and wellbeing. As we press for justice, let us move with dignity and discipline using only the most powerful weapon, the weapon of love.

Beloved, we must start to use our tender hearts that are so broken,
our beautiful minds that are so critical,
and our overwhelming grief to fuel a more excellent way.

Peace and Love,

Reverend Cheryl Harris, President, GAIN
Pastor, First Baptist Church in Attleboro
Sharon Friedman, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Rabbi Leora Abelson, Congregation Agudas Achim
Dr. Umer Akbar, Islamic Center of Greater Attleboro
Julie Boyce, Clerk/Secretary, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Adrianna Clark, Resource Junction Coordinator, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Bertrand Cote, Interfaith Chaplain, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Leslie Courtney, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Taryn Degon, President, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Paul M. Dumouchel, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Jay M. Elias, Vice President, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Rachel Garvin, GAIN
Assistant Treasurer, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Charlie Oliver, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Sarah A. Paquette, Treasurer, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Lisa Piscatelli, Executive Director, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Janet Richardi, GAIN and Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Marcia Smith, Ph.D., Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Ellen Healey Sullivan, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Pamela Tarallo, Food n’ Friends Administrator, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative
Reverend Gretchen Weis, Vice President, GAIN
Pastor, Murray Unitarian Universalist Church
Reverend Robin Woods-Barrant, Pastor, John Wesley AME Zion Church