Peace In Our Neighborhoods and Meaningful Police Reform

Statement by the Leadership Team, Dominican Sisters of Peace

In light of a guilty verdict handed down by a jury in the case of Officer Derek Chauvin, we feel a deep sadness for both the family of George Floyd and for Officer Chauvin.   It is clear that police practice around the use of deadly force needs urgent and effective reform.  There are countless instances where overreaction on the part of the police during routine police work has ended with the tragic death of an innocent person.

Fear and hatred are driving much of the violence in our society leading to needless death and destruction and heartache.  Fear and hatred have especially put the African-American community (and any person of color) in an untenable position of constant defensiveness and anxiety. A person’s home is no longer considered a safe haven, and what may begin as a routine traffic stop may turn into a lethal encounter.

While the police must be given the resources and training to carry out their role in public safety, they cannot be permitted to exercise a militarized form of police work  A fatal use of force should not be the first action on the part of any police officer, and in the vast majority of encounters, peaceful resolution does result, except when it comes to persons of color.

As we reflect on what might come now, we urge local police chiefs and civic leaders to work to de-escalate the fear and hatred in their local communities that leads to violence. Community building efforts need commitment and funding. We call for action to de-militarize the approach toward law enforcement by police departments

True peace is possible when citizens can feel safe from fear and when hatred gives way to understanding. Peace takes hard work and listening to one another.  Are we tired enough of death? Are we ready to see each other with new eyes? With hearts that have broken so many times in so many families, when will we be ready to choose courage over fear?  In the words of President Biden, “We cannot be a safe harbor for hate in this country.”

Leadership Team
Dominican Sisters of Peace

Posted in News

15 responses to “Peace In Our Neighborhoods and Meaningful Police Reform

  1. Thank you for speaking out on this. The militarization of police departments since the attacks on 9/11 have contributed greatly to giving police departments the equipment, tools and training to use force and intimidation on citizens.
    Additionally, the glorification of violence in TV and movies has long been a contributing factor.
    The country needs to step back and look at violence as a systemic illness needing serious attention.

  2. Thank you for this compassionate, just statement that speaks clearly to the change needed for our African-American community and for the police who serve our communities.

  3. It is a beautiful letter reflects so well what we have feeling. After the good press we have been receiving it is very important to express ourselves in this manner. Thanks so much.

  4. Appreciate the care and reflection put forth in this statement about the trial outcome and the public reception of the verdict. Thank you for representing us so well in the search for peace among the human community.

  5. Thank you for your statement. From your lips to God’s ears!!! I pray for the healing of our beyond broken society.

  6. I was happy to read that our Leadership took a stand in the name of all of us to address fear and work for peace through dialogue and listening – not hatred and violence.

  7. Thank you, Leadership, for putting my thoughts into words. You said it better than I could.

  8. Your statement is well stated and appreciated. We must be compassionate to both families in this situation.

  9. Your statement is very thoughtful and gives the much needed support for all parties. We all need to take time to start healing from the constant violence that surrounds us. We do not want to live in fear for ourselves or our loved ones. This is a time for much reflection and mediation.

    1. How can we start the healing process when the war by white nationalists, and even the plethora of incidental acts of racism continues every day? There is so much systemic racism to be dismantled. Let our healing be achieved by continually educating ourselves and using our strength and resources to push back, fighting for justice and dignity and the very lives of our sisters and brothers. Let us step forward an focus on actively shinning our light of unconditional love where Jesus requires. I just can’t step back or stand still, it is no coincidence we are here in these tumultuous times. God please help.

  10. Thank you for this very thoughtful and balanced statement, my sisters. May we hear you and act accordingly, including by sharing the statement as widely as possible!

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