On September 6th, 2018, Brother Botham Shem Jean, a beloved member of the Dallas West Church of Christ, was shot and killed inside his home by police officer Amber Guyger, who claimed to have mistaken his apartment for her own. We mourn alongside the churches of Christ across the nation over this senseless act of violence; and we send love, healing, and comfort to the Jean family, the Dallas West congregation, and all who knew and loved Brother Botham.
In the wake of this tragedy, we’ve seen a fierce debate reigniting around police brutality and accountability. Organizers, activists, and even churches themselves have called for a swift execution of justice. We find ourselves watching the case closely for any updates or for any charges brought against the officer. We find ourselves waiting for an explanation of what happened. And yet, we also find ourselves feeling a bit uneasy about the swiftness to which we responded to this case and not the nearly 700 other police killings that have all occurred this year. We find ourselves asking, why now? Why do we just now hear a rallying cry for justice and healing? And we, rightfully so, have settled on this particular case because Brother Botham was one of our own.
While we will continue to struggle to make sense of his tragic death, we also wish to challenge ourselves to think about what it looks like for us, the church, to respond to injustice. Injustices that affect our people, injustices that do not. Injustices against good people, and injustices against imperfect victims. What does it mean for us to stand in solidarity with those who are suffering? What does it look like to call for a justice that does not perpetuate systems of oppression and domination? What does it mean to instead be in pursuit of a justice that is rooted in love and faith? To be honest, we don’t know. For now, we will comfort each other; we will love on each other; we will hug each other a bit tighter; and we will pray. Then, we must act.
Contribute to funeral and travel expenses for the family at the official GoFundMe link below.