The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, ‘Took The Knee’ outside Leicester Cathedral on Monday 8 June to mark two weeks since the death of American George Floyd and to highlight injustice in our own society.
Bishop Martyn knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time that a US police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck. Video footage can be seen here.
Bishop Martyn said: “I told a handful of colleagues that I would be taking the knee in Cathedral Gardens as a personal and individual act and made it clear that we couldn’t ‘gather’ due to lockdown guidelines and some colleagues have also taken the knee separately. I am deeply shocked by the appalling brutality we have seen against black people in America and I stand alongside those who are suffering and peacefully calling for urgent change, as well as committing to make changes in our own lives and the institutions we are part of.
“Structural and systemic racial prejudice exists across societies and institutions we must act to change that, as well as addressing our own unconscious biases that lead us to discriminate against others.”
Earlier this year, Bishop Martyn led the Church of England’s General Synod in a vote to apologise for racism in the Church.
The Bishop of Loughborough also Took The Knee outside the Cathedral and a few other members of Bishop's Leadership Team. Others did so including some in their own communities.
The Times newspaper has recently published a letter by the Bishop of Loughborough calling for a full public enquiry into the disparities in impact of the Coronavirus as well as urging the Government to outline what steps will be taken to tackle racial prejudice more widely.
Bishop Guli said: “In the Diocese of Leicester we live in a context which is ethnically diverse and includes many people of Black African, Caribbean and Asian heritage. The past weeks have seen raised levels of anxiety for many people within our diaspora communities including in our churches. All of this has been heightened as we have witnessed with horror the events in America. We must stand up and share our abhorrence of that racist brutality but also act in our own areas to address the culture of discrimination we live in this society too.”
Bishop Guli also recently led an online discussion with local Christians of BAME heritage called the Big BAME Conversation.. She is leading work in the Church of England’s Diocese of Leicester to recognise and reduce the barriers that impede people of BAME heritage feeling fully welcome and equally empowered in the Church. The diocese’s Intercultural Worshipping Communities project is receiving national funding as part of this work.
The Revd Lusa Nsenga-Ngoy, BAME Mission Enabler in the Diocese of Leicester, spoke on BBC Radio Leicester last weekend about how people of black, Asian and minority ethnic heriatrge are feeling. You can hear that interview at 2 hours and 39 minutes in to the programme on this link.
This week’s video message from Bishop Martyn featured a conversation with Filipino care home worker Noel Reyes and included discussion of the disproportionately high number of deaths among healthcare workers in the British Filipino community. You can hear Noel’s prayer request for all care workers and residents of care homes in the video here.