Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Archbishop of York, John Sentamu have responded to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday 25th May 2020.
“Recent events in the United States of America have once again drawn public attention to the ongoing evil of white supremacy. Systemic racism continues to cause incalculable harm across the world. Our hearts weep for the suffering caused – for those who have lost their lives, those who have experienced persecution, those who live in fear.
God’s justice and love for all creation demands that this evil is properly confronted and tackled. Let us be clear: racism is an affront to God. It is born out of ignorance and must be eradicated. We all bear the responsibility and must play our part to eliminate this scourge on humanity.
This is not the end of the conversation we need to be having in our homes, in our churches and across our island. We want to hear your voices, we are listening.”
Christian leaders in Leeds have also responded saying “we know that silence is no longer an option”.
An Aroko for David Oluwale
by Ian Duhig
Oluwale is Yoruba for ‘God Has Come Home’
but he came to find Hell in God’s Own Country,
no home but cold Leeds streets or police cells,
in his asylum only electroconvulsive therapy.
Now by the Aire, where David drowned fleeing
policement’s boots, his feet light from hunger,
my small nomadic cowrie garden grows for one
who’d grown to be a shell of himself in this city.
An empty cowrie is full as an egg with meanings:
God’s eyes, they make arokos, magic messages.
Because efa, Yoruba for six, has the same letters
as the word to draw, my six cowries set down here
draw David’s Christian ghost into Oshun’s arms,
water Goddess with a name of water, that he too
might step into the true meaning of his own name
borne back to Africa where the river of us all rose.
This alchemy of cold fire on the Aire’s earth makes
nothing happen, like poetry, yet makes something
from nothing for a man treated like he was nothing,
making room to reflect on river water running softly.
Taken from “And the Stones Fell Open: A Leeds Poetry Anthology” available for order here
#RememberOluwale, listed in the register of charities as The David Oluwale Memorial Association (DOMA), offers a positive response to David Oluwale’s story that returns to David’s hopeful start. We acknowledge that the city of Leeds has made great strides since 1969. We aim to help the city in coming to terms with its past, to improve its care for those who remain marginalised, and to promote compassion, cohesion, inclusion and social justice in Leeds. We utilise all types of art to offer vitality and creativity in our collective effort to make a better future for all. Our flagship project, the David Oluwale memorial garden, will be a place of performance and play, beauty and growth.