As leaders of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, we were saddened to learn about the death of Tony McDade, an African-American transgender man who was killed by a police officer in Tallahassee, Florida, on May 27. His death was one of several in recent weeks—including the horrific killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor—to cause increased concern over police officers’ treatment of African-Americans in the United States. Tony McDade is the twelfth transgender or gender non-conforming person to be killed so far this year, following more than 50 who were killed between 2018 and 2019. Policing must be reformed and demilitarized. The color of your skin shouldn’t be a reason to die at the hands of the police.

This June is LGBTQIA+ Pride Month. While we commemorate the Stonewall Riots that took place more than 50 years ago, let us remember the lives of Tony McDade and other LGBTQIA+ persons of color who have lost their lives due to acts of violence. May we hear the voices of the long silenced and help the church to live out its call to work for justice and peace.

The Covenant Network of Presbyterians is part of a movement that understands the importance of allies. Our faith informs us that we are all part of one body, and that each of us is made equally in the image of God. If one part of the body is broken, then all of us suffer. During this time of greater distance and conflict that have led to despair in communities across the country, we stand with all who live in pain, anger, fear and longing. We take solace in these words from A Brief Statement of Faith: “that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus Our Lord.”

Ruling Elder Vince Patton, Co-Moderator of the Board of Directors
The Rev. Marci Auld Glass, Co-Moderator of the Board of Directors
The Rev. Brian Ellison, Executive Director
and the Board of Directors of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians

The Covenant Network of Presbyterians works for the unity of the church; furthering the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ persons; and offering a prophetic witness, developing theological resources and cultivating partnerships for learning and action. For more information about the work of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, go to www.covnetpres.org.