News & Media

PICO faith leaders issue a statement on Zimmerman verdict

PICO National Network

July 13, 2013


CONTACT: Matt Dorf, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications: (202) 669-6553 (c), matt@rabinowitz-dorf.com, Tameka Bell, PICO National Network Media Relations Coordinator, (202) 642-0747

PICO faith leaders issue a statement on Zimmerman verdict

Pastor Michael McBride who leads PICO's Lifelines to Healing Campaign issued a statement following the juror's verdict of not guilty in the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman case.

 As clergy and faith leaders, we acknowledge the deep pain that this verdict has caused and how it will exacerbate this pain among those most impacted from this incident.

While many of us believe that justice was not served, we respect the jury and believe that together we must collectively pursue justice and truth.

It's not just the guilt or innocence of Mr. Zimmerman this jury decided.

Ultimately we all stand in judgment for our collective guilt or innocence as nation – a nation that continues to target young black men as dangerous, criminal and violent.

On the count of marginalizing young black men the verdict is already in...and we as a nation are guilty.

The persistent portrayal of Trayvon Martin and other black male youth by everyday Americans and the media as violent, dangerous and as the "other" has eroded the moral character of our nation and has left us unwilling and unable to see their humanity and care about their lives.

At moments such as this, when our national attention is focused on the intersection of race and violence, our prayer is that we constructively channel our energies into solidarity around work that will demonstrate our capacity to dignify and value young black men.

We call for organized and peaceful demonstrations of our collective outrage and pain from this verdict. We must channel ourselves into work that will create safer communities through sensible gun laws. We must channel ourselves into work for sentencing reform and other measures to keep youth of color from filling up our jails and prison. We must channel ourselves into work to create more educational and employment opportunities. As voices of moral authority, it's past time for clergy and religious leaders to move beyond simply encouraging their congregations to act, but to step down from the pulpit and lead by example to ensure all of God's children are alive and free, whether they're black, brown or white; wearing a hoody or a business suit.

We are calling on clergy and people of faith to participate in Hoody Sabbath this weekend and next to stand for justice.

In the final analysis, it's not about the verdict, it's about our collective values.