South African peacemaker Archbishop Desmond Tutu has released a statement grieving the murder of Trayvon Martin and calling on Americans to "be true to the ideals of the founding persons of your great nation." Tutu released his statement Tuesday on the website TruthInProgress.com, an organization working to promote cross-cultural understanding around issues of race, sexual orientation/gender identity, and religion.
"We grieve with Trayvon Martin's family at the needless killing of their son," Tutu wrote. "We grieve that the police have not as yet reacted appropriately to this shameful act. We grieve for a people and nation we admire where such acts can still happen."
Tutu, long an activist against apartheid in South Africa, was head of that nation's Truth and Reconciliation Committee, which helped South Africa come to terms with its violent past after the fall of apartheid. Since then he has campaigned to fight AIDS, poverty, racism, homophobia, and has often spoken out against violence of all kinds.
In his message following the murder of Trayvon Martin, Tutu shared the sorrow of the victim's family. He strongly encouraged police to act "in an appropriate manner."
Tutu addressed his message to all Americans and repeated his often-spoken reminder that all people--victims and perpetrators alike--are part of one human family. "May you all realise that you really are all members of one family, God's family, the human family: black, white, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, lesbian, transsexual, gay, bisexual, and so-called straight all belong together in the bundle of life," he wrote.
Truth in Progress is focused on the intersection of race, sexual orientation/gender identity, and religion. The Rev. Gil Caldwell, a straight African American retired United Methodist pastor and foot soldier in the Civil Rights Movement, and Marilyn Bennett, a white lesbian author and activist, are the co-principals of the project. For Archbishop Desmond Tutu's full statement click truthinprogress.com/2012/03/2621/ .