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“We shall overcome”

Roman Catholic Bishop in Grenada, Trinidad-born Clyde Harvey has given strong support to Afro-Americans who have taken to the streets in the United States to stage widespread protest against racism.

The bloody clashes in the past week were sparked off by the killing of another black man, George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis in which a video showed a white police officer continuing to kneel on his neck even after he pleaded that he could not breathe.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder for the death of 46-year old Floyd and will appear in court next week.

Three other police officers who were on the scene of the incident and seemingly did nothing have been fired.

The Floyd case has reignited deep-seated anger over police killings of black Americans and racism.

It follows the high-profile cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in New York; and others that have driven the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

In a touching and moving sermon delivered on Sunday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Church Street, St. George, Bishop Harvey expressed disgust with the attacks on African-Americans in the United States.

He said: “When we look at what is happening in some other countries, it can move us to anger but it also behoves us to pray.

If some of them are watching with us this morning – we commune, we unite ourselves with the people in the United States of African descent who are deeply hurt – anybody who is African-American and not hurt something is really wrong.

“And we who are not African-Americans but who have African descent, when we see a knee on a neck we ought to be outraged and yet we stand in communion with our brothers and sisters, and with all men and women of goodwill,” he added.

The head of the Catholic Community in Grenada recalled a conversation that he had with an individual a few nighs ago who observed that “there seemed to be more white people in the demonstrations than African-Americans”.

Describing this as “maybe a good sign,” the Bishop prayed to God “to be with our brothers and sisters in the United States, in England where we know that there has been discrimination as well”.

“…We pray that we might find the leadership and the vision to confront the challenges and whatever way that we can be truly effective. And we want you in these countries – living with a certain degree of fear to know that we are with you in your pain, in your struggles because God is with you and if we are not with you, we are not with God.

“So, we want to be with God – so we stand with you and we ask God to protect you from the evil that rages, to protect especially your sons – oh God the young boys who can say that all they want is to be able to live. We say in that spirit, we place ourselves with you.

The Catholic Bishop then led the Catholic faithful in the singing “We Shall Overcome”, a song made popular by Martin Luther King Jr, the Black American leader who was assassinated in 1968.

King was an American Christian minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until death at the hands of maan, suspected to be an accomplice of the U.S Security Forces.

King is best known for advancing civil rights through non violence and civil disobedience, inspired by his Christian beliefs and the non violent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.


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