Religious Institute decries murder of Charleena Lyles and acquittal of officer who murdered Philando Castile

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, June 20, 2017

Religious Institute decries murder of Charleena Lyles and acquittal of officer who murdered Philando Castile

BRIDGEPORT, CT—The Religious Institute decries the murder of Charleena Lyles, a Black woman killed by a police officer, and the acquittal of the officer who murdered Philando Castile.

As a faith-rooted organization committed to reproductive justice, we once again proclaim that as long as we as a society allow Black people to be killed by the state, there can be no reproductive justice. The women of color who created the reproductive justice framework understood that it must include the ability to raise families in safe and healthy environments, free from violence. As parents, Charleena Lyles and Philando Castile were not afforded reproductive justice. Neither were their respective children, who witnessed their deaths, nor their parents and families, left to mourn their unjust killings.

It is immoral for a police officer to kill a Black man during a routine traffic stop. It is immoral for a police officer to kill a Black woman who called the police for help.

Sadly, these tragic deaths are not inconsistent with everyday life for Black Americans or with the United States’ long history of racial injustice and reproductive oppression. Policing and state-sanctioned violence against Black people in the United States is one part of the systemic racism at this country’s core. This system must be dismantled.

As a multifaith organization, we are committed to the flourishing of all human beings. We find our grounding in the religious values of justice, health, and wholeness for all people.

We mourn with the family, friends, and relatives of Charleena Lyles and Philando Castile. We recommit ourselves to participate in addressing the systemic and everyday racism that caused their deaths. We invite you to join us.”

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The Religious Institute is a nonprofit, multifaith organization dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education, and justice in faith communities and society. More than 8,500 clergy, seminary presidents and deans, religious scholars and other religious leaders representing more than 50 faith traditions are part of the Religious Institute’s national religious leaders network.

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