Adam Toledo, a Letter of Lament

‘“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35)

Chicagoland, we failed Adam Toledo, we are failing each other, and we are failing ourselves.

Words cannot express the grief and sorrow we feel at Adam’s tragic death. Our collective grief reverberates through our bodies only beginning to absorb the trauma of a 13-year old boy shot and killed by police. We remember Adam’s life and mourn his death; all through a constant onslaught of hurt, anger, opinions, noise, blame, and guilt. And despite it all, we are left with his loss.

Loss for the Toledo family, our families, our neighborhood, our city, and our world.
Without Adam – a son, brother, student, neighbor, friend, and image-bearer of God.
There is no righting this pain.

We need accountability.
We ask for your accountability where we are failing to love, serve, and protect the young people in our community through our actions and inactions.
We demand accountability of the Chicago Police Department through a transparent investigation and just application of the law.

And we need so much more.
We need time to grieve and mourn.
We need to heal from our trauma.
We need each other.
We need justice.
We need peace.

We need to transform our unjust and racist systems.
We cannot normalize the sin of racial inequity that makes Chicago the city with the largest life-expectancy gap in this country.
We cannot normalize the killings of black and brown bodies by the very department our tax dollars fund to protect us.
We cannot normalize the disinvestment from communities of color that starves young people from opportunities to realize their dreams.

We need to reimagine.
We need to recreate.

It is easy to sit and give opinions, rant, and blame one another; but, there’s a lot of work to do and the work is hard.

The work of love.
The work of justice.
The work of healing.

Toledo Family, we commit to do better.
Chicagoland, we need to do better, together.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Confession in the Wake of George Floyd's Murder

A Public Apology and Statement from New Life Centers of Chicagoland

“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:7-8

We grieve and stand with the black community against the sins of police brutality, racism, and unjust systems of white supremacy that continue to kill and steal black lives. Every black life is the sacred image of God and our commitment to love God and love people requires our persistent demand for justice. A superficial apology is as disingenuous as attempting to justify why it has been delayed, but nevertheless, must be stated with the utmost sincerity. To my dear black brothers and sisters, we’re sorry. These racist, anti-black actions and systems are evil and absolutely unacceptable, and we sincerely apologize for our delay in denouncing them. We commit to solidarity with you in defending black life, amplifying black voices, and denouncing anything that harms you.

We mourn the genocide of the original inhabitants of this land from 1492 and the ensuing dehumanization of black life and life of other people of color, to build many of the systems and structures of our nation in the name and defense of white supremacy. This unequal value of human life is sin, and no words can sufficiently express the tragedy that is the loss resulting from it. Too much of the suffering experienced by the young people and communities we serve is a direct result of these structures. So too are the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, and too many black lives stolen by those enforcing white supremacy in positions of power.

And as we grieve, we confess our complicity in these violent systems, known and unknown, through our actions and inactions, and ask for forgiveness. As we confess, we commit to concrete actions against white supremacy and towards justice for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) in our communities, city, and nation.

Our commitment to love God and love people requires of us the faith and work to demand justice. We stand in solidarity with BIPOC in waging peace on violence. This includes but is not limited to standing against police brutality, over-policing of our communities, and racism within and outside our communities. This is also a commitment to the active work of speaking truth, building equitable systems, and amplifying voices of BIPOC. We stand with you.

We are stronger together.