A Statement of Concern - A Call to Action from the Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian Jr.
The URI community is shocked and saddened by the horrible violence that took place yesterday in Charleston, South Carolina in the United States. The murder of nine innocent people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a sacred site for the American Civil Rights Movement, is heartbreaking. We send our prayers to the families of those who died in this tragedy, and to the communities in shock as a result of these killings.
At URI, we are dedicated to ending all forms of violence both physical and structural. Every day the world experiences acts of senseless violence rooted in the hate that flows from ignorance and prejudice. In this case, we must understand this incident in the context of the long history of racism and racially motivated violence that continue to plague the United States and countries around the world. The racist and white supremacist views that appear to have led to these killings did not emerge in isolation. They were fed by a culture and a world that continues to fail to address the root causes of the deeper social ills of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and violence against people of all religions and cultures.
Therefore, as the URI community continues to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings, let us come together to speak out about the evils of racism and all other prejudices; let us stand together in solidarity with those whose lives are diminished and placed in danger by the violence of such hate; and let us continue to teach the value of respect for all human beings, all religions and all cultures.
This is the sacred wisdom of the religions, spiritual expressions and Indigenous traditions upon which the values of URI are based - a wisdom that is expressed through acts of love and seeking justice for all on the path to peace.
In peace... Victor
The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian Jr.
United Religions Initiative