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Christians encouraged to pray, commit to tackling racism on second anniversary of George Floyd killing

by Tola Mbakwe

Christians across the nation have been encouraged to mark the second anniversary of the killing of George Floyd on Wednesday by lighting a candle.

Churches Together in England (CTE) has called for the Church to pause for one minute at noon to remember George Floyd and all those who experience racism. 

They are asking Christians to then light a 'Candle of Justice', pray and then commit to taking personal and institutional action to tackle racism in our society and our churches.

CTE's Principal Officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multi-cultural Relations, Shermara Fletcher said: "We invite the nation to share their stories of the work they have done in challenging racial injustice and highlighting the systems they have set up to tackle racism within their churches and within broader society.

"We also ask that they recommit to continuing their work in tackling racism and enabling a fair, equal and equitable society for all. We recognise that there is still a lot more work to do."

Floyd, a black man suspected of passing a counterfeit bill, was killed when Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck as three other officers looked on. The incident triggered a wave of protests over racial injustice.

Reflecting on this anniversary CTE President and Moderator of the Free Churches Group Rev Helen Cameron said: "We all remember the moment we heard about the death of George Floyd murdered by a white policeman standing on his neck. Since then, sadly we have all witnessed or heard testimony of countless other acts of racist hatred and injustice.

"It is not enough for good people to be horrified but then do nothing to work for change. We must dismantle white privilege, name racism when we encounter it, and commit ourselves to change. This will be costly but God calls us to seek justice and unearth hope for all."

CTE has encouraged those participating to upload their candle photo on social media using #CandleofJustice hashtag.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden will issue a broad executive order on Wednesday to reform federal and local policing.

The order will direct all federal agencies to revise their use-of-force policies, create a national registry of federal and local officers fired for misconduct and use grants to encourage state and local police to ban chokeholds and neck restraints unless deadly force is required, officials said.

It restricts the use of no knock entries to a limited set of circumstances, such as when an announced entry would pose an imminent threat of physical violence.

The order covers roughly 100,000 federal law enforcement officials but the White House hopes to use the power of federal spending to expand it to the more than 700,000 officers at the state and local level.

Biden promised to push police reform as president, but negotiations in Congress on a bill collapsed last September.

The executive order will call for creation of national standards for the accreditation of police departments and seek to tie portions of future grant money to earning accreditation, officials said.
The White House has sought to win the support of the civil rights community without angering law enforcement officials.

"We know full well that an executive order cannot address America's policing crisis the same way Congress has the ability to, but we've got to do everything we can," NAACP president Derrick Johnson said in a statement. "

There's no better way to honour George Floyd's legacy than for President Biden to take action by signing a police reform executive order."

Chauvin was sentenced to 22-1/2 years in prison last year after his conviction on murder charges. One of the three officers pleaded guilty last week to aiding and abetting manslaughter in the 25th May 2020 incident.

The White House scheduled a signing ceremony on Wednesday at which Biden will be joined by members of Floyd's family, civil rights advocates and law enforcement officials.

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