By Vatican News
The tragic death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American killed by a Minneapolis police officer on 25 May, has led to protests and public outcry against discrimination and police brutality, not only in the United States but in several other countries.
In a gesture of solidarity, Youth for Peace, a movement of teens and young people affiliated with the Saint Egidio Community, is organizing a flash mob against all forms of racism, social discrimination and violence on Tuesday at 9:00 pm (Italian time) on the Tiber Island.
The event will be preceded by a prayer for peaceful coexistence in the world. Young people will also display a banner on the façade of the Basilica of San Bartolomeo located on the Tiber Island, and illuminate the surrounding square with hundreds of candles.
“We must learn to live together,” reads the statement released on the website of the movement. Inspired by these words, the young people hope to reiterate the message of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Canadian Bishops lament suffering caused by racism
Separately, the Bishops of Canada have also lent their voices saying that George Floyd's death is "profoundly troubling and entirely unacceptable".
In a statement released on Monday on the website of the Canadian Bishops’ Conference, the Bishops expressed their strong objection to the “disregard of human rights and dignity” and the “ongoing presence of racism and discrimination in our societies.”
“The denigration of humankind, the denial of God-given rights and of human responsibilities that flow from them, lack of love for one’s neighbour, and the failure to show respect toward others are wholly intolerable; these must always be condemned in the strongest of terms,” said the Bishops.
Reiterating Pope Francis’s words during last week’s General Audience, the Bishops lament the loss of lives caused by “exclusion, racism and violence which are antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” They insisted that “every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and is precious in His eyes.”
The Bishops encouraged all to pray for all those who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism, and invited everyone to work for reconciliation and healing, as well as peace and justice in the world.
Memorial services, funeral for George Floyd
Meanwhile, thousands of mourners gathered on Monday to pay tribute to George Floyd in his hometown of Houston, Texas, during a public visitation ahead of his funeral. Similar memorial services were held in Minneapolis on Thursday, and in Raeford, North Carolina - the city of George Floyd’s birth - on Saturday.
The six-hour wake, which took place at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston, saw more than 6,000 people in attendance. Since the occasion was open to the public, visitors were required to put on a mask and gloves in compliance with coronavirus-related guidelines.
The funeral will be held at the same venue at 11:00am on Tuesday.
George Floyd will be interred at the Houston Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Pearland, a suburb of Houston, next to his mother’s grave.