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The Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America condemns the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the police officers killed in Dallas, TX.

We are religious leaders from a wide spectrum of faiths and communities nationwide. Our religious teachings and our spiritual commitment call upon us to say that we abhor acts of violence by officers entrusted to protect and serve. Likewise,  we find the targeted killing of police officers deeply troubling. Our communities deserve to be safe for all, and the violation of communities by violence is abhorrent. We are called by God's to be each other's keeper.

In a world where #BlackLivesMatter and reproductive freedom is actualized, neither civilians nor police officers would be subjected to violence.

We mourn with the families who continue to lose loved ones because of racism and with the families of the officers who have lost their loved ones in an act of seemingly targeted violence. Too often, the superimposing of caricature over character clouds the judgement of people and flattens the varied and complex humanity of God's sacred beings.

We must stand together against racism, fear and violence. Too many lives are being destroyed. Too many communities are being eroded. We must hold our leaders accountable and seek cooperative support between churches, mosques, temples, local schools, parents, community leaders, and civic leaders to realize justice and peace.

While many of us may feel hopeless and overwhelmed in these moments, we are not defeated. Even in the darkness we claim these words of Audre Lorde, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house...I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside [themselves] and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives here. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices."

There is no space in our beloved community for violence to abide.

In the midst of such violence and fear, we encourage our faith communities to be places of safety, to help gather those who seek to usher in a world of justice and peace. As ministers and representatives of many faith traditions, we bless those who continue to work for the safety of both people of color, and our peace officers. May we not be consumed by our fear, rage, and despair that we do not recognize each other’s humanity, nor forget to seek shared solutions to our shared challenges.

Tags: Clergy, Black community, Police brutality

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