A Reflection from Father Phil on the George Floyd Murder Trial Verdict

But Joseph said to his brothers, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.” Genesis 50:19

To the Trinity Church community,

Like you, I’ve just watched through teary eyes as the policeman who murdered George Floyd almost one year ago was given a measure of justice. A natural and understandable reaction, perhaps, upon listening to the judge read the three verdicts of the jury in the formal legalese of the courtroom while knowing that the undercurrent of the trial was quite literally centuries of trauma and injustice inflicted upon Black people in these United States. Trauma that has been visited upon Black folks and then – sadly, tragically, lastingly – not been held to account. 

Not today, not today.

Did you, like I, feel the restless anxiety of this past weekend as the trial took its weekend break? Did you, like I, wonder what would happen if the jury returned an acquittal? Did you, like I, think that an acquittal could be a real possibility? Did you, like I, have a knot in your gut all day wondering what was going to be the verdict on a man who killed another man for the world to see, but believed that people would look away as we have done so many times?

But after Brother George Floyd was murdered the people did not look away. The people did not flinch before the power that seeks always to dishearten and destroy. The people stood in vigil and recalled, remembered, and resisted. The people, especially our young people of every race and nationality, were not afraid. Simply because they understood that now was the time to believe that, even though you intended it for harm, God could turn it to good.

Now, let’s redouble our efforts to do the work Trinity Church in the City of New York is here for: to combat the systemic evils that continue to plague our beloved city and nation and show the world a little bit of what the Kingdom of God might look like.

May God’s blessings be on you, and may you be safe,
The Rev. Phillip A. Jackson