The Allendale United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, which has become a safe haven for many in the LGBTQ community, is using their marquee this week to call attention to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Monday after a white police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for up to eight minutes as he yelled, “I can’t breathe!”
“George Floyd was lynched today by the police. We can’t breathe!” the sign outside the church read.
On the opposite of the marquee, the sign reads, “White Supremacy: The most dangerous virus infecting our country since 1942.”
The church’s pastor, Rev. Andy Oliver, told News Channel 8 that Floyd “should be alive today.”
“I immediately came out here to change our sign to remind St. Petersburg that a man named George Floyd was lynched yesterday by the police and this will continue until we stand up as a community, as people who look like me, white people, allies, stand up to demand that this type of police brutality stops,” Rev. Oliver said.
“I woke up yesterday to the video, eight minutes of a police officer applying deadly force to someone even after they were unconscious,” he added. “It was the worst video I have ever seen in my life.”
Oliver says that the mission of his church is to do the “work of anti-racism and being in solidarity for anyone who is at the margins.”
The house of worship has used their platform to fight all forms of social injustice in the past including: violence against the transgender community, the deaths of other black men in police custody, white supremacy, and Trump’s immigration detention centers.
“When we are standing with those on the margins, we are standing where God stood…as followers of Jesus, that is the only right way for us to practice church,” he said.