The historic coalition of advocacy groups in The United Methodist Church made its first joint statement on the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida.
“We are shocked by this shooting of an unarmed African American teen by an armed neighborhood watch person who contravened the directives of police by pursuing and shooting this high school student,” said Steve Clunn, director of the Love Your Neighbor Common Witness Coalition. “As a Christian coalition that works at the crossroads of issues, we must challenge all race-based profiling. It only leads to heartbreak and disaster.”
“Violence, whether it is based on race, sexual orientation or gender identity, is wrong and cannot go unchallenged,” said Troy Plummer, executive director of Reconciling Ministries Network. “Our ‘Love Your Neighbor’ theme is based on a story told by Jesus about human differences. If we tell the story today, Trayvon was left on the side of the road to die by everyone who has let a racial joke stand without comment, by everyone who avoids crossing unspoken racial lines, by anyone who forgets that Jesus was telling us that our neighbors are people who are different from ourselves—not the people who look and act like us.”
Pamela Crosby, executive director of Black Methodists for Church Renewal said, “This tragedy for Trayvon Martin’s family and loved ones is anathema to our goals for the beloved community. Trayvon is our son, baby brother, church member, friend. As United Methodists from around the globe prepare to meet together in Florida at the end of April, the need to address racial justice and reconciliation in our communities is urgent and silence has no place in our response. This is just another example where race trumped humanity. The time for love of God and neighbor to trump racism is now!”
Don Hayashi, president of the National Federation of Asian American United Methodists said, “We cannot be silent in the presence of violence whether the victim is a person of color, a transgender woman, an immigrant or other targeted group, we must speak for the humanity of everyone—and call for investigation by authorities and repentance by perpetrators. We grieve over the death of Trayvon and we grieve for the heart and soul of this country and pray that one day it can be a sign of hope all people because of its respect for all.”
“United Methodists have a long history of working against the institutional violence of racism. Racism, coupled with the easy accessibility of weapons resulted in this deadly, personal violence and it must end,” said Jill A. Warren, executive director of Methodist Federation for Social Action, an organizational member of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “We stand together as a Coalition in our support for all those affected by violence, for justice and the elimination of racism.”
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from all diverse racial-ethnic backgrounds all know someone who has been beaten or murdered for who they are,” said Tim Tennant-Jayne, co-spokesperson of Affirmation. We stand with Trayvon’s family as they seek a thorough investigation of this tragic death. I am reminded of the powerful statement attributed to the Rev. Martin Niemöller, during World War II, to paraphrase: ‘First they came for the communists and I didn’t speak out because I was not a communist—then they came for the trade unionists, then the gypsies, then the homosexuals, then the Jews—then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.’ As a coalition, we know we must speak out for each other. Silence equals death.”
AFFIRMATION is an independent voice of LGBTQ people and our supporters. We are an activist, all-volunteer organization that challenges The United Methodist Church to be inclusive.
BMCR represents and is dedicated to more than 2,100 Black United Methodist congregations in the U.S., approximately 500,000 African American members, and numerous United Methodists of African descent to raise spiritual and prophetic leaders in the church.
MFSA is a place where Progressive United Methodists lead and sustain a progressive United Methodist movement, energizing people to be agents of God’s justice, peace and reconciliation.
NFAAUM is committed to the empowerment of Asian American local churches and to articulate the concerns, interest and needs of Asian Americans in all levels of the United Methodist Church.
RMN mobilizes United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.