Mike Signorelli, lead pastor and founder of the New York-based V1 Church, posted a video Wednesday morning lamenting the death of George Floyd and calling for accountability within the church to stand up against racism.
“I’m outraged,” Signorelli says in the video. “I’m heartbroken. I’m angry. And I’m still in disbelief that I’m raising daughters in an America where they have to see the reality of this manifestation of racism. But I’m also posting this and trying to use like whatever little influence I have to actually send a message to the white leadership of America—every politician, parent, teacher, pastor and every leader of privilege in this country—because we’ve got to move past the memes. It’s a great start, because we all know that the new racism is actually the denial that racism still exists. But we’ve got to take it a step further, because actually, empathy without action reinforces the status quo.”
George Floyd, an African-American man, was killed by Minneapolis police officers during an arrest on Monday. Video of the arrest—which shows that an officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck for seven minutes despite Floyd being handcuffed and saying “I can’t breathe”—went viral during the week and prompted many activists and Christian leaders to call for justice.
Signorelli says we must use this moment to reflect on how we as a church have been culpable in racist systems—to “remove the plank that’s in our own eye and see that we’re contributing.”
“Here’s my action step that I want us all to take, because this is what I’m doing today,” Signorelli says. “I want us to reflect. I want us to look at our own leadership. I want us to ask the question, ‘Whose neck is underneath our knee politically?’ ‘Whose neck is underneath our knee systemically?’ ‘Whose neck is underneath our knee spiritually, mentally and emotionally?’ And how can we examine ourselves and not just stop at being outraged as we look at the video of a physical manifestation of racism, but not remove the plank that’s in our own eye and see that we’re contributing. It might be on a different level in a different way, but it’s still the same racism that needs to be eradicated in our heart and our soul and in our spirit. And so, no, this isn’t a call-out; this is a call-up. Let’s take it to the next level. Let’s try to do more than just post a meme this time. Let’s self-reflect.”
Watch the full video here.