Called to Do Justice
JaNaé Bates works in Minneapolis USA as a minister in the United Methodist Church. She is a member of Isaiah, a grouping of religious organisations from Christian, Muslim, and other faith backgrounds working for racial and economic justice in the state of Minnesota.
In this two part series with Pat Coyle, JaNaé talks about her work with Isaiah and the importance of “doing justice” in the wider community rather than simply being nice to those we know. In particular when it comes to racial violence most recently highlighted by the killing of George Floyd in her own city.
JaNaé herself is no stranger to violence against the black community. She was born in Cleveland Ohio, and she worked there accompanying and advocating for the families of unarmed young black people who were murdered by white policemen. These officers were rarely charged for their crimes, she says, and those who did always got acquitted.
JaNaé is a former journalist from the Associated Press who went on to become a Fulbright scholar. She did her doctorate at Aberdeen University in Scotland before moving on to work in a L’Arche community there.
She begins by talking about how seeing George Floyd being killed really changed people’s attitudes, especially those who might never have seen such a direct example of racial violence and how unfortunately his death was not an outlier, but a reality for many black families in America.