By: Rufus Chambers III, Lead Pastor, The Bridge Community
Los Angeles, CA — As I look out at the canvas of America today, I am torn between the brutal reality of its present condition and the hope that I have for it to change. The brutal murder of George Floyd and the immediate aftermath of peaceful protests coupled with looting has lit this country on fire. Just when we thought life was about to return to a new normal with states re-opening following never seen quarantines across the nation, civil unrest has erupted. My question becomes, will this unrest finally bring about the overdue change our country is in desperate need of?
When I first saw the images of George Floyd being murdered in broad daylight by the officer with his knee on George Floyd’s neck, I experienced the same type of emotions that I have been experiencing most of my life when confronted with police brutality against Black men. Seeing Rodney King beat like a dog by police in 1991 (and the associated 1992 acquittal for the involved police officers) opened the door for my anger, rage, confusion, fear, and frustration to surface like never. I was a teenager in 1992 when the verdict was announced. I was old enough to be angry, disappointed, and hurt and here I am 28 years later experiencing the same level of anger and pain.
As a man of faith, I ask God HOW LONG? How long will these atrocities against my people be legal within this broken system. I recall the stories my grand-fathers’ told me of their run-ins with the Jim Crow south system and bigoted law enforcement personnel in their day. I recall the resentment and distrust that they carried with them for the rest of their lives.
They had seen too much and experienced too much for their hearts to truly put their trust into a broken system where they were considered not equal.
I recall the stories my father shared from his days being part of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Seeking justice and reform to a system that was never created with this personal well-being in mind. Stories of how police departments and government entities made it their personal business to shut down any black organization that promoted black pride and the realization there of. HOW LONG? And even my ancestors that I never met, have paid with blood, sweat, tears, and their very lives for this broken system. HOW LONG? How many generations will it take for us to realize the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King spoke about from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. in 1963?
My hope is that our current civil unrest will be the catalyst for my people finally being recompensed for 100s of years of atrocities and acts of terrorism committed against us. HOW LONG? I say LONG ENOUGH. The time has come for this broken system to be torn down and rebuilt with all of us in mind. From the judicial system to local law enforcement, reform is needed. The administrators of law and justice in this country can no longer do so through their lens of racism, prejudice, fear, and bigotry. The conscience of America has been on trial since its inception and we find it guilty and render a sentence of a total makeover.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created and shall be treated equal.
But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream. Amos 5:24 NKJV