As I wrote this last sentence media reports came in of eleven police officers being shot, five of whom were killed in Dallas, TX. These officers were stationed at a protest, protecting those who marched and called for justice. Five lives lost, now added to the two lives lost before.
On Good Friday of this past year the Madison Catholic Worker organized a Social Justice Stations of the Cross around the state capital building. The 4th Station – Jesus Falls took place in front of the Madison Police Department. In remembrance of Alton Sterling (7/5/16) and Philando Castile (7/6/16), and in remembrance of the five officers killed in the line of duty and six who were wounded (7/7/16), I would again like to share the readings and the litany of names that followed:
|Station 4 - In front of the Madison Police Department|
Station 4: Jesus Falls
Leader: In our city and across the country there has been a national conversation concerning policing and its impact on the community. A level of mistrust and pain has arisen, as those weighed down by violence, poverty, racism, and a lack of opportunity stumble and fall under the weight of the cross. We are called here to recognize the underlying causes of suffering within our own backyard. We are called to respond through relationship and forgiveness. We are called to remember the names of all those who have fallen victim to violence.
Leader: Tony Robinson – March 6, 2015
Leader: Police Officer David Stefan Hofer – March 1, 2016
Leader: Daily, members of the police force, the sheriff’s department, and all other branches of public safety confront the brokenness of our community – responding to calls of domestic abuse, mental health crises, exploitation, drug addiction, and verbal assault. They are witnesses to the very worst of the human condition, but are also provided with the opportunity to offer a hand to those who have fallen down.
Leader: Police Officer Allen Lee Jacobs – March 18, 2016
Leader: Trayvon Martin – February 26, 2012
Leader: We heed the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as we seek to make whole all that has been broken, as we look toward healing instead of fracture: “True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.
Leader: Eric Garner – July 17, 2014
Leader: Officer Ashley Marie Guindon – February 27, 2016
Leader: Violence is a cyclical event that does not cease unless we are willing to take a stand and speak out on behalf of those who are most affected. We must commit ourselves to the Gospel’s radical call for peace, and not stand idly by when confronted by injustice.
Leader: Deputy Sheriff Carl A. Koontz – March 20, 2016
Leader: Michael Brown – August 9, 2014
Leader: We recall the recent shooting deaths by police of individuals within our communities, specifically individuals of color.
Alton Sterling (Baton Rouge, LA) – July 5, 2016
Philando Castile (Falcon Heights, MN) – July 6, 2016
Leader: We recall the recent shooting deaths of police who were killed in the line of duty.
The five officers killed and six wounded (Dallas, TX) – July 7, 2016
All: Be still and know that I am God.