News: An article by Kate Stringer in spells out a crisis:

"After being pulled over for a busted taillight on July 6, Philando Castile informed a Minnesota police officer at his window that he owned a gun and had a license to carry it. As he reached for his license and registration, his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter then watched as the police officer fired four shots into Castile’s body. He died in the driver’s seat.

"Castile was one of 137 Black people in the United States killed by a police officer this year [as of July 8, 2016]. Another Black man, Alton Sterling, was killed by police in Louisiana the night before. On Thursday, seemingly in response, five police officers were killed and six were wounded when snipers interrupted a peaceful protest in Dallas on July 7. Amid the violence there have been forceful calls to city leaders to address police racism and brutality."

Stringer then goes on to explain programs we already know help to reduce police racism and violence.

And so we pray this news . . .

God of Mercy, we pray for the loved ones of the 137 Black people killed by police officers this year. We pray as well for the loved ones of the police officers who were killed in the line of duty protecting other citizens. May all know the healing touch that comes from your love and peace.

We ask that you give wisdom, courage and insight to those who are fashioning new programs for police departments; that racial bias training is established; that more female officers are hired; that police departments match the racial diversity of the neighborhoods they serve; that departmental records be opened for research; and that more police officers wear body cameras. Help us and other citizens to recognize that these measures can and should be put in place. They fuel our hopes for an end to police racism and brutality.

So be it.

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