Catholic News Service (published in Crux, The Catholic Spirit, and News Break) spotlights Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs webinar, co-sponsored with CRCC. In the webinar, faith leaders, including USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement program manager Najuma Smith-Pollard, discussed their perspective on George Floyd’s death, how it has affected their communities, and how communities should respond.
The article describes Smith-Pollard’s reflections on why the tragedy has shaken the foundation of the United States:
“A number of people would characterize this moment as the perfect storm,” said Rev. Smith-Pollard, who is a program manager for the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement. “You have a triple pandemic. You have the COVID pandemic, which forced people indoors and off work. It then forces an economic crisis for millions of people. Then you layer an egregious violence to, yet again, another black man screaming, ‘I can’t breathe.’”
“This is not the worst one, this is just bad,” she added. “One is not worse than the other. It was just too many forces coming together at one time, and everybody I believe felt vulnerable in the way in which this crime happened.”
One point of discussion was the cries for his mother that Floyd screamed before falling unconscious. Rev. Smith-Pollard, who has served at a number of African Methodist Episcopal churches around the country, said she described it as a moment that every mother would feel in their heart.
“You cannot be a mother and not have felt something,” she said. “There is not a living mother who saw that, heard that and did not feel pierced in their soul. That was like a holy summon — the ancestor mommas, present mommas and mommas to be.”
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