All The Holy Innocents pt.2

Erica Garner died earlier today. She was 27. And she leaves behind a 3-month-old baby boy named after her father, Eric.

I am so done.

Erica’s death should be counted in the Black maternal mortality statistics; but it won’t be.

Erica had an asthma attack that caused her to have a heart attack.  But we won’t talk about how African Americans are more likely to have asthma and die from it…
According to the CDC’s 2015 summary of the most recent asthma mortality data, black Americans have a higher asthma death rate -at 23.9 deaths per million persons- than non-Hispanic whites (8.4 deaths per million persons), Hispanics (7.3 deaths per million persons), and other non-Hispanics (10.0 deaths per million persons).

Erica’s foster mother was with her when she died, and Erica’s child is probably going to have to go into the system (at least for a little while); but we’re not going to talk about Black children and the foster care system. [really, I’m not. because it upsets me]

Erica had been fighting for justice for her father since the day he was killed by the NYPD…so much so that the NYPD messed with her family at the hospital. But we’re not going to talk about the policing of Black bodies. [again…really, I’m not. because it upsets me]

I am so done.

If I ever get to preach on Holy Innocents Day, I would use the traditional passage from Matthew, I would also use this, from Jeremiah…..

Thus says the Lord:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
   lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
   she refuses to be comforted for her children,
   because they are no more.
Thus says the Lord:
Keep your voice from weeping,
   and your eyes from tears;
for there is a reward for your work,
says the Lord:
   they shall come back from the land of the enemy;
there is hope for your future,
says the Lord:
   your children shall come back to their own country.     [Jeremiah 31:15-17]

Erica is not coming back, so we should weep for her. But Eric III is alive. And if America saw him as a Holy Innocent instead of a potential threat, there would truly be hope for the future.

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