It seems we find ourselves ever with bated breath, as we again await the judgments of neighbors on the value of Black lives. In every way, this verdict is about the value of a young Black life snuffed out, too soon, at the hand of a civil authority supposedly sworn to his protection. This verdict is about the value of a young Black life prematurely ended because a Chicago Police Department officer emptied the clip of his gun at a figment of his imagination. This verdict is about the value of Black life and the accountability of the civil authorities here in Chicago. At least for today, with a verdict that valued life and accountability, the citizens of Chicago have witnessed justice . . . At long last, justice.
As an institution dedicated to the simple proposition that all lives are important to God but, those of the despised and marginalized even more so, Chicago Theological Seminary stands with all of those whose demand for justice, in this case, was answered by their neighbors. We find satisfaction in a verdict whose final and most important statement was that Laquan McDonald’s life mattered. Because his life mattered, our neighbors chose to affirm the basic truth that no one can be above the law; particularly, not those tasked with upholding it. Given the times in which we live, in which unjust power seems to triumph at every turn, it is vital that people of good will take these moments to encourage one another and our neighbors in well doing.