With growing concern and deep dismay, we have watched the escalating events of the last week, beginning with the horrifying killing of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis, and now encompassing peaceful protests and violent riots, throughout the US, and worldwide.
We want to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of George Floyd.
We also want to take this occasion to reflect on the systemic racism and oppression that continues to plague the US and many other nations, and which has led to countless instances of murder, deep injustices, and continuing violence, in all of its physical, emotional and spiritual manifestations.
The dying words of George Floyd, “I can’t breathe,” challenge us all to be agents of change, that we may institute the much-needed reforms so that ALL people may breathe – and live – freely.
We express solidarity with all those who are suffering now: from grief, heartbreak, abuses to dignity, violence, hatred, and purposely sown division. We are with you.
As a registered educational nonprofit organization, we honor everyoneâ€™s dignity, and we welcome people of all races, genders and gender identities, socio-economic statuses, religious or spiritual beliefs, sexual orientations, political affiliations and other markers of our diversity.
We condemn racism. We condemn violence. And we stand for strong, principled and, as needed right now, clear, compassionate and resonant responses from our leaders and our communities to the outrages we see around us.
Spiritual companions bear witness. As such, we call on our community, and all individuals, to bear witness compassionately to what is happening, to seek understanding, and to take such action as seems appropriate in line with the universal spiritual principles of wisdom, compassion, and equality for all.
Because spiritual companions use deep listening to help others raise their self-awareness, we call on all people to lead in their communities by listening to all those affected by these issues, from all sides, non-judgmentally. Such listening offers the foundation for responsive leadership that we have been sorely lacking.
Listening is not a passive response to the crisis we now face. It is, rather, an urgent and necessary action, and one of the most potent tools at our disposal to begin a process of remediation, change and healing. It can provide the wisdom and understanding to see a way forward through taking action that may rectify, rather than intensify, the divisions in our societies.
We call on all those who read this – including decision-makers in all levels of government – to acknowledge the truth of systemic injustice in the United States and the world, to work together actively with renewed hope, commitment, and compassion to create a better way to support the freedom and wellbeing of all people.
Cynthia Bailey Manns, DMin
Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA
Wendie Bernstein Lash
Redwood City, California, USA
Leslie Keener, CDP
Melbourne, Kentucky, USA
Janice Lundy,Â DMin,
Traverse City, Michigan, USA
Eric Massanari, M. Div.
Newton, Kansas, USA
New Mexico, USA
Rev. Seifu Anil Singh-Molares
Bellevue, Washington, USA
SDI Executive Director
I think that in a time such as this we are being called to respond as those who are calling for justice are asking us to respond — and that means to say clearly and specifically that Black Lives Matter. To say “all lives matter,” even with naming George Floyd in our call for justice we are missing the point of not just the last few weeks of uprising against systemic violence against black lives and other peoples of color, but the centuries of resistance of Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples against white supremacy – white privilege.