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Sister Linda Responds to the Death of George Floyd

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

At Holy Family Institute we have three values that we ask all board and staff members to embrace when they join the Holy Family “Family:” Faithful Listening, Loving Relationships, and Recognizing God in the everyday.

After seeing the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Officers and the riots that followed, I thought of the words of Martin Luther King, “a riot is the language of the unheard.”

Why can’t we hear? How can we block our ears? How is it that in the face of someone crying out, “I can’t breathe.” “I am going to die.” How is this not heard? How is there is no response?

Faithful listening.

How sad that these words that Dr. Martin Luther King spoke when he was in Detroit a few weeks before he died are still relevant today,

“…it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? …It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”

Our schools are still segregated, our churches are still segregated, immigrants who have lived in this country their entire lives are being deported to countries they’ve never set foot in. For some in the majority there is a “right” way and “wrong” way to protest. I don’t support, condone, or believe in violence of any kind. That is why I abhor guns for any reason, including hunting. But when an act of peaceful protest by taking a knee at a football game by Colin Kaepernick is chastised and he is marginalized – there is definitely something wrong in the hearts and minds of so many of us in the majority.

Now more than ever we must hear. We must faithfully listen to the unheard.

Sister Linda Yankoski, CSFN, EdD