Pope Francis has addressed the ongoing civil unrest occurring in the United States in response to the death of George Floyd.
During his weekly Angelus prayer at the Vatican on Wednesday, the Pope, 83, spoke out in response to the eighth-straight night of protests — which at times have turned violent — occurring in major U.S. cities across the country.
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“Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd,” he said.
“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life,” the Pope added. “At the same time, we have to recognize that the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating.
“Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost,” he said. “Today, I join the Church in Saint Paul and Minneapolis and in the entire United States in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism. Let us pray for the consultation of their grieving family and friends and let us implore the national reconciliation and peace for which we yearn.”
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Over the last week, protests have erupted in the U.S. over the May 25 killing of Floyd, who died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes despite Floyd’s cries for help. Chauvin has since been arrested for third-degree murder.
While many of the protests against racial injustice and police brutality have been peaceful, in other cases, the encounters between demonstrators and police have turned violent.
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Some protestors have looted from stores and even burnt down buildings and police cars, while police have used tear gas on demonstrators, even peaceful ones at times, in many cities.
Hundreds of arrests have been made and curfews have since been implemented in many of the major U.S. cities impacted as a means to stop the encounters between demonstrators and police.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
•National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.