FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 4, 2014n
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)n

Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan                          Rabbi Michael Millern
Archbishop of New York                                       Executive Vice President and CEOn
                                                                              Jewish Community Relations Counciln
                                                                             of New York City

Rev. A. R. Bernard, Sr.                                            Most Reverend Nicholas A. DiMarzio 
President                                                                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 Charities
New York Board of Rabbis                                      Archdiocese of New York       
Most Reverend John O'Hara                                    Rev. Dr. Jimmy Seong G. Limn
Auxiliary Bishop                                                      Executive Directorn
Archdiocese of New York                                        Council of Churches of the City of                                                                                                           New Yorkn

The Very Reverend James Massa                             Rev. Gregory C. Chisolm, S.J
Moderator of the Curia and Vicar                            Pastorn
For the New Evangelization                                    St. Charles Borromeon
Diocese of Brooklyn                                                Archdiocese of New York              
Father Carlos M. Rodriguezn
Holy Crossn
Archdiocese of New Yorkn