Our Official Statement In View Of The Protest Against Police Brutality

Our country has been plagued with police brutality and aggressive policing for way too long. Most recently, we watched in disgust as a Minneapolis Police Department officer killed Mr. George Floyd with three other Minneapolis police officers standing by as he begged for his life while bystanders pleaded with officers to stop.  

The Mount Vernon Baptist Church-Westwood strongly condemns police brutality, white supremacy, racism, sexism, classism, ageism, and other evil -“isms” that plague society today. We understand that protesting police brutality is NOT a protest against all police officers.  There are multitudes of men and women who wear the uniform with integrity and compassion and we are appreciative of their service.

This does not hinder us from reaffirming our solidarity with and joining the fight for equality, equity, and justice. Mt. Vernon Baptist Church is always open to work with the many groups and organizations that are doing justice work. As a congregation, we have a rich heritage of activism and community engagement. We will continue to live out this heritage.

As a pastor, I am keenly aware of the biblical mandate to seek peace in the city where The Lord our God has planted us. Where there is no justice, there is no peace. That’s why I support all who are protesting for justice. While I do not condone violence, looting, destruction of other people’s property, I do understand it and lean on the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “a riot is the language of the unheard”. My prayer is that we would begin listening to each other.

It is also my conviction that we protest forcefully but peacefully; and express our concerns passionately and intelligently. YOUR life matters and I desire for YOU to remain as safe as possible during this time.

We are facing a colossal amount of issues. We continue to contend with the horrors of a pandemic of poverty and gun violence, we were already pushing against House Bill 2817 that would allow people to obtain and carry guns without a permit, we have not escaped the reality of Coronavirus/Covid-19, and now it is our task to join the global uproar against police brutality.

We will not lose heart because we serve a big God who sits high and looks low. God is able! The Lord will strengthen our hands as we glorify His name.

Stay encouraged and vigilant. I am praying for you, as we remain involved with peaceful demonstrations and other expressions for freedom and justice.

Pastor Melvin Watkins