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San Diego Faith Leaders Gather To Demand An End To Police Brutality, Racism

Bishop Terrell Fletcher of City of Hope International Church speaks at Cathol...

Photo by Roland Lizarondo

Above: Bishop Terrell Fletcher of City of Hope International Church speaks at Catholic Pastoral Center on June 11, 2020, calling for an end to police brutality and to eliminate systemic racism in society.

Leaders from many faiths — Christians, Jews and Muslims — came together as part of the San Diego Organizing Project, a non-profit representing nearly 30 congregations across the county. Their goal is to end police brutality and eliminate systemic racism in society.

Here's a sampling of what the various leaders said:

The Most Rev. Robert McElroy, the Roman Catholic Bishop of San Diego: “Daily, in our own lives and in our society, we rupture the compact we have with God through racism and structures of racism and we cannot stand silent.”

The Rt. Rev. Susan Brown Snook, the Episcopal Bishop of San Diego: “The work of dismantling racism is not work for black people to do. This is white people’s work. We have to do this work. We have power. We have influence. We white people have benefited from racist systems in ways that we don’t even realize even when we personally would never knowingly do a racist act.”

Reported by John Carroll , Video by Roland Lizarondo

The Rev. Tommy Jennings, a black priest serving at Christ The King parish in San Diego: “There are those who would like to keep us silent but as we continue to see what’s happening in our country in this day and this time, now more than ever we need to speak up.”

The Rev. Jason Coker, lead pastor of the Oceanside Sanctuary: “Let us repent of white privilege gained on the backs of black bodies. Let us repent of polite white society, atone for policing of righteous black anger. Let us repent of white economics and the looting of black America for white profit... Let us repent of white identities gained at the expense of our souls.”

The Rev. Kathleen Owens, First Unitarian Universalist Church: “Police are supposed to enforce laws. They are not to be the prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner against any person, especially against black people. I am here to say it is the job of white people to transform policing structures.”

Imam Taha Hassane, Islamic Center of San Diego: “I’m here because my prophet taught me that whenever I see an injustice, I have to change it with my hands, take action. If I can’t with my tongue, speak up against it. If I can’t with my heart, pray.”

Bishop Terrell Fletcher, City of Hope International Church: “The average racist don’t go to my church. The average racist is in your congregation. The white supremacist is sitting on your deacon board and I am challenging you as a man and woman of God to call it out and to call it what it is and to stand in your moral courage and stand in your moral strength so that you can help your fellow human being.”

The gathering took place in front of the Diocesan Pastoral Center, the headquarters for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego. All the faith leaders committed to taking the message to their congregations and to begin the hard work of dismantling racism in our society.

Listen to this story by John Carroll.


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John Carroll
General Assignment Reporter & Anchor

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI'm a general assignment reporter and Saturday morning radio anchor for KPBS. I love coming up with story ideas that aren't being covered elsewhere, but I'm also ready to cover the breaking news of the day. In addition, I bring you the local news headlines on Saturday mornings during NPR's Weekend Edition.

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