Sean Bell Protest

by Jose Humphreys

I attended a Sean Bell Protest in Harlem today at 3:00pm. There

were five other
protests in strategic places in the city. The energy was intense while people
with fists pumping in the air shouted chants of, "No justice no
peace" and "We are Sean Bell…"

This latter statement was
symbolic of the collective pain a community feels after a barrage of 50 bullets
took Sean Bells life outside a club in Brooklyn.

It was good to see both black,
white and Hispanic marching together. As the march swelled it formed a blockade
at the intersection of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. It was at this
intersection I ran into Derek and Liza who are part of
my church.

As the crowd grew larger and larger it headed east toward
New York Cities’ Triborough Bridge. The Triborough bridge connects Manhattan,
the Bronx and Queens. It was here I joined Lisa Sharon Harper, Executive
Director of New York Faith and Justice. It
was great seeing Lisa here and she is posting some of her thoughts at her site
as well. Lisa is planning a time of prayer for the Sean Bell family and our
city this Saturday in Harlem at 7pm.

walking in the midst of this vibrant march, all I thought about was, "What
is the value of a black man’s life?" And as we search our hearts deeply, I
know the answer isn’t to hate the police. That isn’t the way of Jesus. Whether
people dislike the police or not, we can’t forget Jesus’ poignant words to love
both enemy and neighbor alike. I talk to many who are angry at the police and
want to focus their frustration on the NYPD. However, I realize, that our
vocation, our prophetic task as followers of the way of Christ is to be
peacemakers. Peace making is in our DNA. It’s our identity (…for they will be
called children of God).

So where do we begin? I’m not even sure, I haven’t come that
far in my analysis. Frankly it seems almost irrelevant at this juncture. I
suspect that the first couple of places might be prayer and protest.


Jose and his wife Mayra are Pastors
of Metro Hope Church,

A new
church located in Harlem, NY. 
At the heart
Metro Hope’s Mission is
to see God’s peace unfold in NY through

expressions of art, acts of mercy
and social justice.

Jose and Mayra are members
of the Latino Leadership Circle.


  1. Thanks for representing Jose! This is definitely a failure in the system and as such it needs to addressed prophetically.

  2. What does peacemaking look like in the wake of the Sean Bell verdict? If we begin a peacemaking process by declaring that his death was unjust or that the verdict was unjust, don’t we prejudice that process? I posted some thoughts on both the complexity of the issues and the kind of conversation I think might help move us towards healing here:

  3. great questions J. I’m still processing this…I’ll read what you wrote this weekend. I think we need to also define what “peace making” is…
    The tension is that “Prophetic witness” as the church historically knows it was never really about simple objectivity, but faithfulness to love, truth and the dignity of a human being. Was this act a breach against the fullness of someone’s humanity? Therefore a violation of shalom.
    One more thing…I would say to begin, that peacemaking is definitely a posture regardless of the opinions of “both sides”. A posture of possibility and hope that goes beyond rhetoric and stale solution.

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