United States Vice President Mike Pence joined Bishop Harry Jackson for a listening session with community and faith leaders on Friday, where he said the church is the right place to address the nation’s response to the death of George Floyd and the protests over racism that followed.
“I couldn’t help but feel that as our nation reels from the tragic death of George Floyd, that a place to start a conversation is a place of worship,” Pence said at the listening session held at Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, where Jackson is a senior pastor.
“It’s the wellspring of our nation’s strength,” Pence continued, speaking to a select group of black and minority leaders representing churches, businesses, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations. “It’s been the wellspring of our national unity and our steady march toward a more perfect union.”
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died on May 25 while he was handcuffed and on the ground restrained by three officers in Minneapolis. A cellphone video taken at the scene showed former police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as other officers held on to his back and feet.
The vice president expressed support for the right to peacefully protest, and explained that forces were mobilized to make space for peaceful demonstrations. “My prayer is that we, as a nation, have ears to hear, to listen to one another and open hearts,” he added.