US is the only country which still uses grand juries and these outcomes of recent weeks are not a trials, and compounds feelings of frustration, grief, dissatisfaction and anger. These grand jury decisions should not be the end, but only the beginning. Public safety officials, as well as our US Justice Department should initiate their internal investigations to dig deeper into circumstances.
As we reflect on the months leading up to these decisions and prepare a path forward, lets point out some facts. Each individual decidedly broke the law and attracted the attention of the police. Then tragically and inexplicably they decided to challenge and fight law enforcement. Our public safety culture needs to stop focusing on regional enforcement of minor infringements and start concentrating on the prevention of major crimes.
This nation was built on a proud and powerful tradition of expression through non-violent protest. Therefore, demonstrations and free speech are valuable contributions to debate, but violence and disorder are not only wrong, they're illegal.
Frustration is understandable, but centuries of racial profiling is not. If we continue working together, we can make a profound and lasting change in our global culture of that of law enforcement and the military to bring our multiracial community closer together. All people, regardless of their race and color care about justice. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Finally, it all comes down to the sad fact that our system is broken and we have no political vision and we lack real leadership at the local, state, national and international level. The whole world is watching and waiting for a solution to this crumbling reality.
The NYC Commission of Religious Leaders sent the following message for City Images to distribute:
"New York City has a long history of confronting the challenges that arise from its greatest strength - the diversity of its residents, and our cooperation for the common good. Successive waves of immigrants have experienced both initial rejection and gradual acceptance. Minorities have endured discrimination, but have made significant progress in overcoming barriers to full inclusion.
We have reached an important juncture in the life of our city. While crime rates are at welcomed lows, stubborn pockets of violence persist in too many parts of New York. We have seen examples of extraordinary cooperation between communities and police, but barriers to trusting relationships remain.
We have watched as incidents of mistrust and tension have torn other cities apart. In contrast, we in New York City have historically set the example for peaceful, meaningful, constructive engagement. We know that will continue.
That’s because New Yorkers --- from all walks of life, religion, ethnicities, ages and gender traditionally come together to find real solutions and to move forward as one city.
We know that demonstrations can be a constructive part of this process, when they call attention to essential concerns and mobilize individuals and government to act. We all agree that these protests must remain peaceful, for the benefit of our communities, our children, and as an example to all who hold peace dear. Peaceful discourse of this nature will ensure the progress we all hope to achieve.
As we move forward we need to work to avoid destructive violence, build trust and create a more just city in which the dignity of each person as made in the image of God is respected and enhanced.
All of us deserve to live in a city where we are protected and respected. We know that New Yorkers will join us in working together to build a better, fairer, and more inclusive city for all, just as we always have.
As the psalmist prayed, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble . . .God is in the midst of the city.” (Ps.46)