Public Statement in Response to Sterling and Castile Shootings

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Our hearts are breaking over the loss of the lives of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. We hold each of them in our hearts and prayers. We send healing and strength to their grieving families and communities.

Even in our distress at the increasing pace of violence against people of color — Black and brown — this week, we recognize that we face a defining political and moral moment for our movement and for our organization.

Our movement is acutely aware that women of color and the poor are most imperiled by efforts to limit the full expression of their reproductive lives. This week, all of America has also seen why these women fear for the very safety of children they have brought into the world.

Racially motivated violence is an insidious form of reproductive loss. It threatens the basic human right to raise children in the expectation that they may live out full lives in healthy and safe environments.

There is nothing religious about racial violence or oppression of any kind. In fact, the escalation of violence this week reminds us that all families deserve to live fully self-determined lives free of violence and full of agency over their own bodies. This is our religious understanding of reproductive justice.

RCRC stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all other movements leading efforts to promote the health, well-being and self-determination of Black and brown people. We pray that diverse people will join together to guarantee that basic human rights replace the oppression of racism, homophobia, and all other forms of xenophobia.

We encourage all to contribute to funds now established to help the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile as a sign of our care for those whose personal losses are due to racial injustice.

Going forward and drawing on our diverse religious roots, we dedicate ourselves with hope to a prophetic vision of our nation as truly free and equal. May all of us remember that love and respect for others must prevail before we can make our society just and compassionate. May we be united working every day to establish a world where dignity, compassion and love are the values that guide how we live in community with one another across all lines of difference.

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