The killing of George Floyd is hard to watch. As a former resident of the Twin Cities region, I can’t put into words the sadness and outrage I know I share with so many others. I can say this: As Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said, being black in America should not be a death sentence.
As a white man, I know that my path through this world is different. I would not be gunned down like Ahmaud Arbery while jogging. I would not be shot in my home like Breonna Taylor. I would not be choked to death by police like George Floyd.
Habitat for Humanity was born on a farm in South Georgia on the theory of radical inclusivity, at a time when inclusivity was seen by some as an existential threat. It’s a vision of a world we still believe in, and fight to build every day.
As I said after white nationalists descended on Charlottesville, “Our vision is one that is welcoming to all. Our vision embraces diverse views. Our vision knows that no matter who we are or where we come from, we all deserve to have a decent life.”
The way we approach our work at Habitat has been a vehicle for reconciliation and has broken down barriers between people. We work alongside those willing to partner with us, no matter their background or walk of life, and that will always be true.
Our colleagues at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity are standing with those who are fighting for justice for George Floyd. They are also leading the way, showing how Habitat can be a tool for healing racial divides. “We need to be as intentional in closing those disparities as we were in creating them.”
It’s easy to feel powerless now, even hopeless. I feel ashamed. I feel sad. I feel angry. But we also must act. We must speak out against injustice, listen to those who have been unheard, and demand better of ourselves and of our leaders.
We must pray. And when Jesus commands us to love our neighbor, we must listen.
CEO at Habitat for Humanity International