Daunte Wright’s Life Mattered

By Rick Summy, Senior Pastor

How long, O Lord? How long?

Daunte Wright’s life mattered.

Black lives matter.

But this keeps happening.

Jamar Clark, Philando Castille, George Floyd, Daunte Wright.

And those are just the names we know—from Minnesota.

Mario Powell, a black Jesuit priest from Brooklyn, NY, writing in the wake of George Floyd’s death, has words for us to ponder regarding Daunte’s death as well. He writes that in situations like this he often avoids conversations with white friends and colleagues not because the conversations aren’t important but because they are exhausting. “They are exhausting because, I have found, that while white people can engage these issues at their leisure, discuss them in person or on social media and then withdraw again to their daily concerns, I cannot do that. I am exhausted because we cannot withdraw from this painful cycle.”

Powell writes, “Change requires change…Simply put, these structures will not change until white America—which means individual white Americans—gets close to black and brown people. Until you can smell the stench of sin that we smell…until you can feel the pain of that knee on your own neck and suddenly find it hard to breath in front of your computer screen; until then nothing will change. These structures will not change until that body has a name and a relationship to you.”

And lest we misunderstand, Powell reminds us that “This is Christianity. This sharing in the experience of others is what it is to be one body in Christ.”

What can we do?

A statement from the Minnesota Council of Churches (our own St. Paul Area Synod is a member) calls us to respond through

  • Prayers (“As people of faith we must pray for the family and friends of Daunte Wright who are mourning and weeping.”)
  • Presence (“Prayers must become presence. In moments like this, outrage is a natural part of grief, which is best processed in community.”)
  • Prophesy (“Presence must turn into prophesy…Call for a system-wide transformation of policing in Minnesota.”)

To see the full statement, go to http://www.mnchurches.org/blog/2021/04/12/statement-killing-daunte-wright-brooklyn-center-police.