You can also view a PDF of the original letter here.

You can develop a healthy, robust, community that lives right with God and enjoy its’ results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. – James 3:18 (MSG)

Broken hearts are not enough. We are deeply saddened by the evidence and reality of yet another
African American child who has been killed by a representative of a system that does not value
lives equally. But our broken hearts are not enough. We are called by our Lord and Savior to be
agents of change. We are called to do the hard work of reconciliation. We are called to do the
hard work of demanding and modeling the treatment of every person with dignity and honor by
individuals and the systems that engage them.

The work of ensuring equal justice may not look the same for everyone, but it is required of all of
us. And it requires that we work hard to reconcile ALL members of the community to one
another. In order to do so there must be both truth telling and accountability.

The Justice and Witness Ministry of the Chicago Metropolitan Association of the United Church
of Christ, Illinois Conference is calling upon all churches and individual members to stand up and
DO something. We will continue to keep you informed of opportunities to demand and make
lasting systemic change.

In the meantime, please be aware of the following ways to join God’s work in progress to seek
justice for individuals and systemic reform:

1. Support and join the peaceful protests taking place across the city. Voices raised in one
accord cannot be ignored.

2. Do not allow our young people and their supporters to bear the burden of raising their
voices in peaceful protest. Donate and share the link to the bond fund that will help to
release protest organizers who are detained. The website may be found at

3. Support the call for the establishment of a civilian review board with indictment power to
handle claims of police brutality and misconduct.

4. Support the call for the resignation of city and state governmental leaders who have
allowed and perpetuated an atmosphere of brutality towards persons of color.

5. Join the Restorative Justice community in holding peace circles throughout the city of Chicago. These circles provide space and opportunity for each community to voice and hear feelings, concerns, anger, fears, frustrations, ideas, solutions, and hopes for our communities and our city. The circles will allow space for common and concerted action for sustainable change. If you would like to hold circles in your community, but do not have access to trained peacemakers, use the following Facebook site,, as a tool to reach out to fellow peacemakers. Feel free to tweet using the hashtag #RememberLaquan.

For more information or questions regarding scheduled peace circles or the scheduling of a peace circle in your community please call M. Michelle Day at 312.852.8520 or Sarah Jones at 512.423.3695 or the Chicago Metropolitan Association of the United Church of Christ at 773.324.7658.

In Christ,
Reverend Vertie Powers
Associate Conference Minister
Chicago Metropolitan Association
Illinois Conference, United Church of Christ

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