December 4, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 4, 2014
New York City Commission of Religious Leaders’ Statement
on Grand Jury Decision on Eric Garner Death
New York City has a long history of confronting the challenges that arise from its greatest strength - the diversity of its residents, and our cooperation for the common good. Successive waves of immigrants have experienced both initial rejection and gradual acceptance. Minorities have endured discrimination, but have made significant progress in overcoming barriers to full inclusion.
We have reached an important juncture in the life of our city. While crime rates are at welcomed lows, stubborn pockets of violence persist in too many parts of New York. We have seen examples of extraordinary cooperation between communities and police, but barriers to trusting relationships remain.
We have watched as incidents of mistrust and tension have torn other cities apart. In contrast, we in New York City have historically set the example for peaceful, meaningful, constructive engagement. We know that will continue.
That’s because New Yorkers --- from all walks of life, religion, ethnicities, ages and gender traditionally come together to find real solutions and to move forward as one city.
We know that demonstrations can be a constructive part of this process, when they call attention to essential concerns and mobilize individuals and government to act. We all agree that these protests must remain peaceful, for the benefit of our communities, our children, and as an example to all who hold peace dear. Peaceful discourse of this nature will ensure the progress we all hope to achieve.
As we move forward we need to work to avoid destructive violence, build trust and create a more just city in which the dignity of each person as made in the image of God is respected and enhanced.
All of us deserve to live in a city where we are protected and respected. We know that New Yorkers will join us in working together to build a better, fairer, and more inclusive city for all, just as we always have.
As the psalmist prayed, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble . . .God is in the midst of the city.” (Ps.46)
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan Rabbi Michael Miller
Archbishop of New York Executive Vice President and CEO
Jewish Community Relations Council
of New York City
Rev. A. R. Bernard, Sr.
Most Reverend Nicholas A. DiMarzio
Bishop of Brooklyn
Council of Churches of the City of New York
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik
Rev. Msgr. Kevin Sullivan
Executive Vice President
Executive Director, Catholic
New York Board of Rabbis
Archdiocese of New York
Most Reverend John O’Hara Rev. Dr. Jimmy Seong G. Lim
Auxiliary Bishop Executive Director
Archdiocese of New York Council of Churches of the City of New York
The Very Reverend James Massa Rev. Gregory C. Chisolm, S.J.
Moderator of the Curia and Vicar Pastor
For the New Evangelization St. Charles Borromeo
Diocese of Brooklyn Archdiocese of New York
Father Carlos M. Rodriguez
Archdiocese of New York