February 28, 2000
National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus and the National Black Sisters Conference are
deeply sadden by the Not Guilty verdict handed down this past Friday (February
25, 2000) from the Albany courtroom, where four white police officers were acquitted of
two murder counts and four less serious charges as it pertained to the shooting of Mr.
Amadou Diallo on February 4, 1999 as he stood alone and unarmed at the entrance of his
Bronx, New York apartment building.
bullets fired at one man and a verdict of not guilty are hard for us to understand and
indeed painful for us to accept. The officers
said it was a mistake. Yet nobody has been held to account for a mans death. There could be another mistake tomorrow. Another innocent man or woman could fall victim to
a police officers bad judgment. Another
mistake, and another life
how long can we go on this way in a just society.
does all of this say to the African American community?
It says that racism is still alive and well in all facets of our society. It clearly says that there is no justice for
non-whites in this country.
do we go from here? We must first of all
pray for justice and peace. This prayer
cannot be just the prayer of a few, but the prayer of a city and a nation. We must find a justice table and
sit down together- Black folks, White folks, Asian folks and all people of good will, to
correct the ills and develop a plan of justice and peace that touches the lives and hearts
of all people. We must openly express our
feelings at this justice table. At
this table we must seek to find new ways and new avenues to build confidence and trust and
to live not only in word but also in deed the Gospel of life. For until we recognize the dignity of every human
person we can never achieve true justice and true peace.
Holy Father Pope John Paul II has stated; a commitment to justice and peace
a necessary condition for the celebration of the Jubilee (Tertio Millenniio
Adveniente, no. 51). The ancient tradition
of Jubilee is a tradition rooted in a commitment to peace and justice. The Jubilee year, Pope John Paul II
points out, was meant to restore equality among all of the children of Israel,
offering new possibilities to families which had lost their property and even their
us then join together as African Americans and people of all faiths, cultures and creeds
to establish a just nation: a nation that proclaims good news to the poor, a nation that
brings liberty to those deprived of it, a nation that reaches out in compassion to the
poor who are hungry and who search for shelter, a
nation that reaches out to the sick who seek relief and the downtrodden that seek help in
their hopelessness. Let us become a nation
who frees the oppressed and gives sight and equality not just to a select few, but to all
the people of God. Let us become a country that upholds through its law and by
its action respect for human life from the moment of conception to its natural
Hate will not solve our problems of injustice, but love opens the avenue to many new and glorious possibilities for peace and justice across this land. The Archbishop of New York, John Cardinal OConnor, reminds us through his motto there can be no love without justice. In the words of Dr. Adam Clayton Powell, Children dont you get weary . theres a great camp meeting in the Promise Land.