On the evening of July Fourth, I followed Twitter in disbelief and horror as video of an attempted lynching in Bloomington began to emerge. As many of us now know, Vauhxx Rush Booker, a local activist and community organizer, was attacked by a group of white men at Lake Monroe while on an outing to view the lunar eclipse with friends. The FBI is investigating the incident as a hate crime.
In the days since then, demonstrators demanding justice for Booker have taken to the streets of Bloomington. On Monday evening, a car plowed into a crowd of protesters, injuring two people, one seriously. Members of our diocese who are providing medical support to the protesters have shared their account of this terrifying violence with me.
I am grateful to God that no one died in these acts of malice and evil, and I join protesters and Bloomington civic leaders, including Mayor John Hamilton, in calling for justice for Vauhxx Booker. I’m also incredibly grateful that first responders like Nan Miller of Good Samaritan, Brownsburg, and leaders of our Faith Aid Support Team, including Patrick Burke of St. Paul’s On The Way and Chana Tetzlaff of St. Christopher’s, Carmel, are showing up at protests in both Indianapolis and Bloomington to advocate, support, and stand with the vulnerable and marginalized.
In these difficult times, it may seem that evil and hate are all around us, especially when they hit so close to home. But it has ever been thus. Today we simply have videos that make it impossible for us to turn away. In the face of our despair, we must remember that we bear the love, hope, and light of Christ, an ever-present reality that we must neither diminish nor underestimate. Our call to be beacons of Christ, to take the light and love of Christ into the world, is at the core of our Christian vocation. It compels us to raise our voices together to proclaim that hate, death and evil never, ever have the final word.
May God bless and keep you and all you hold dear in these days.