Archbishop Elpidophoros of America participated in peaceful protests unfolding on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, as seen on a Facebook live video by Eric Adams, the president of the Borough of Brooklyn.
With protestors chanting “No justice, no peace,” the Archbishop shared his own voice on the issue of racism and discrimination in America, stating that “It is so important to be all here together. We are all Americans and we are protecting the American values…human dignity, freedom, against racism and any kind of discrimination and violence.”
Also in the video is Andrew Gounardes, a member of the New York State Senate, who participated in the peaceful demonstration. Gounardes said this was a “huge international movement” in which he was proud to participate.
The Brooklyn demonstration comes more than one week after the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Floyd died after Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, according to a prosecutor’s statement of probable cause.
Chauvin and his accompanying officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng have all been fired. On Wednesday, Chauvin’s initial charge of third-degree murder was increased to second-degree. The other three officers face charges of aiding and abetting murder.
The incident has sparked protests with tens of thousands of protestors in cities and towns throughout the United States.
Greek Orthodox Church & Civil Rights
The Church’s history of supporting African Americans’ plight spans back more than five decades.
At the peak of the Civil Rights movement in 1965, Archbishop Iakovos walked alongside Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama during the march along the 54-mile state highway to the capital of Montgomery.
Archbishop Demetrios, the predecessor of Elpidophoros, also marched in Selma with President Barack Obama in 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of the event.
In a Facebook post, the Archbishop Elpidophoros made the following statement regarding his participation in the Wednesday demonstration.
“I came here to Brooklyn today in order to stand in solidarity with my fellow sisters and brothers whose rights have been sorely abused. This was a peaceful protest, one without violence of any kind, and I thank all of those involved, because violence begets only more violence. We must speak and speak loudly against the injustice in our country. It is our moral duty and obligation to uphold the sanctity of every human being. We have faced a pandemic of grave physical illness, but the spiritual illness in our land runs even deeper and must be healed by actions as well as words. And so, I will continue to stand in the breach together with all those who are committed to preserving peace, justice, and equality for every citizen of goodwill, regardless of their race, religion, gender or ethnic origin.”
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