Responding to the Killing of George Floyd

June 4

On May 25, George Floyd was tragically and senselessly killed by a white police officer. Since then, our nation has grappled with the hurt of that act and our history of injustice against black Americans. This has been a difficult and emotional struggle.

Last Friday, about 1,000 people gathered for a peaceful demonstration at the Rhode Island State House to protest the killing. I am grateful to report that the protest went peacefully.

But everything changed after midnight, when crowds began to gather outside Providence Place Mall. They soon broke into the building, vandalizing and looting its stores. The mobs then spread throughout downtown pillaging as they went, throwing bricks at officers and setting a police car on fire.

Sadly, this scene has been repeated all across America.

Whether the more violent protestors are truly responding to tragedy, or opportunists, one thing is clear: our nation is hurting and in need of a thoughtful, just, and godly response.

Dr. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr., recently spoke out: “As my uncle – who was also killed by a white man – famously said, he dreamt of a world where people will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Dr. King reminded us of what Scripture tells us about who we are as people: “He [God] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on the face of the earth… so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might find Him, though He is not far from each one of us and in Him we live and move and have our being.”

Dr. King summed up: God made all people (of all backgrounds!), and that “People are human beings with so much more uniting us than dividing us.”

These are unusual times, but we must keep working, dreaming, and praying that God will raise up other peacemakers like Dr. King. Jesus spoke about them in his Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

In that spirit, here are three steps Rhode Island and her people can take today toward reconciliation:

  1. Rhode Island’s Governor should appoint a person of color and character to the RI Supreme Court.

Providence Senator Harold Metts – an African-American and a longtime member of the Rhode Island General Assembly – suggested one step towards peacemaking would be for Gov. Raimondo to appoint a person of color to the Rhode Island Supreme Court. There is currently a vacant seat on the court – and this highest bench of the state sadly has never had a justice who was a person of color.

Sen. Metts said, “The shortage of minority judges on the entire judiciary is troubling. Never having had any on the state’s highest court is unacceptable and reflects past discrimination. Rhode Island needs to do the right thing. I urge you to appoint a person of color to this vacant Supreme Court judgeship.”

  1. We should all strive to be encouragers.

This is a difficult time in the life of our nation. We should all be thinking of ways we can be an encouragement to those around us in this challenging time. I was motivated to do that today as I read my daily reading from former NFL coach Tony Dungy’s “Uncommon” devotional: today’s thought of the day was to “be an encourager!” What a timely word!

  1. Join Family Policy Alliance in praying for our nation.

As we navigate these difficult waters, Family Policy Alliance is committed to praying for our nation. Please read and share the prayer for our nation that Stephanie Curry shares here. I hope that God will speak to you as you pray through it on your own or with your family and friends.

Be encouraged: God is good!

Dave Aucoin
Chairman, Board of Advisors – Rhode Island