On Saturday, June 20, 2020, hundreds of youth and young adults took to the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota, with “A Cry for Justice and Healing,” an outreach event aimed at rebuilding the city and regaining a sense of peace.
The event, held in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder on May 25, was attended by more than 350 volunteers, 16 Adventist churches, and officials from three conferences (Lake Region, Central States, and Minnesota conferences).
The day began on the steps of Minneapolis First Church, located eight minutes from the scene where Floyd’s life was taken. In lieu of a traditional Sabbath worship service, volunteers, most of whom were under age 35, dispersed to one of seven outreach locations in Minneapolis.
Each station had a unique mission tailored to the needs and demographics of the neighborhood. All offered supplies, lunches, prayers, and a place to submit ideas of ways churches can sustain aid after the media attention subsides and police brutality is no longer a trending topic.
Participants regrouped for a peaceful march to the George Floyd memorial located at the intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue (dubbed George Floyd Avenue as an online petition to rename the street has more than 26,000 signatures). As the crowd marched together, wearing “#I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts, singing “When We All Get to Zion,” a sense of urgency arose.
Speakers included Ezra Kenyanya, youth pastor of Kenyan Community Church, and Abraham Henry, Lake Region Youth director, who passionately articulated how seeking justice and defending the oppressed are biblical practices.
In his address to the crowd, Henry based his exhortation on Micah 6:8: “Today we walk because we believe we’re walking humbly; today we talk because we are seeking justice, and today we stand because we stand for those who can’t stand. Remember this moment as a day where we stood up, a day where we spoke up, and a day where we command that we seek justice.”