Women's Division Calls for Investigation and Continued Documentation
|The Womenís Division and the
General Board of Global Ministries has joined the call for a thorough
investigation of the June 16 hanging death in Mississippi of Raynard
Johnson, a 17-year-old African American youth.
Members of Ministries in the Midst of Hate and Violence (MMHV), a ministry of the General Board of Global Ministries, were in Mississippi to witness at a July 7 rally organized to protest what the family and its supporters are calling an incomplete investigation. They joined local United Methodists, anti-hate groups, legislators and concerned citizens who support the familyís call for a reopening of the investigation into the young manís death.
Johnson was found hanging by a belt from a tree in his familyís front yard in Kokomo, a rural community in Marion County, Mississippi. The death has been ruled a suicide by the local coronerís office. The family has asked that another autopsy be performed outside of Mississippi.
Lois Dauway, Womenís Division assistant general secretary for Christian social responsibility and leader of MMHV said, "We are living in the midst of an epidemic of hate and violence. While we pray that this young manís death was not the result of hate, we cannot know until a complete investigation is done. For the sake of the family and the community that is hurting because of this young manís untimely death, we call for an investigation."
In response to continuing incidents of hate-based violence in the United States, the Womenís Division for the past two years has coordinated an effort to document incidents. United Methodist Women members from around the country have been sending newspaper clippings about reported incidents to undergird MMHVís efforts to educate people about the prevalence of such crimes, to provide support to victims and communities, and to help eradicate attitudes that contribute to an atmosphere of hate and violence.
Continue to send newspaper clippings of hate crimes (or possible hate crimes) with the newspaper name and date to Sandra Peters, 475 Riverside Drive, #1502, New York, NY 10115.