Father Jenkins: “We have to pray, but we also must act”

Author: Media Relations

Rev. John I. Jenkins
(Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

In response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers, Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., joined other local clergy, elected officials and community leaders at an interdenominational prayer rally today at the Jon R. Hunt Memorial Plaza in downtown South Bend.

Among his remarks:

“The first thing I want to say, to our black sisters and brothers, is I’m sorry. That terrible video of George Floyd brought home to us who are white what you have to live with every day of your lives. I’m sorry you have to bear that burden. But the grace is that we’re aware of it even more deeply now.

“We have to pray but we also must act. 

“I want to thank (South Bend) Mayor (James) Mueller for his leadership in making policing in this community safer and respectful of all. We must continue those efforts, not only in this community but throughout our nation. We can only do that if we come together – white and black, old and young, left and right – we need to come together as a community for justice. There are elements in our society who want to divide us; who want to separate us into camps of people who want to hate each other. They are the enemy.

“We must take steps to establish justice, to do what is right, to assure that everyone, particularly our black sisters and brothers, are respected by the police force and by every one of us every day of our lives. I know we have a lot to learn, I know we have a long way to go, but let’s make this time an opportunity to move forward together. 

“I simply conclude by asking God’s blessing on us, by asking God to bless these wonderful leaders who have brought us together, by asking God to teach us the lessons of love that can bring us together as a community, to seek his justice, to seek the community that He wants us to have, and to care for those in greatest need. We pray this in Your name. Amen."