March 27, 2024 Recording Available from Online Vigil for Nex Benedict

On Feb. 8, 2024, Nex Benedict, a Two-Spirit (nonbinary) member of the Choctaw Nation, died one day after a physical altercation inside a school bathroom in Oklahoma. An online vigil, co-sponsored by the New England Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, the Conference Committee on Native American Ministries, and the Native American International Caucus (NAIC), was held to honor Nex’s life.  
Dumbartonian Neal Christie, who serves as a non-indigenous member of the NAIC board, shared the following thoughts on Nex’s tragic death:
Our hearts as a caucus are with transgender youth, who suffer tremendous battering and bullying at the hands of their peers. We pray for those youth that they may see the harm and refuse to participate in the continuation of it.
The statements of some elected officials in the school system, and in the local government in Oklahoma are abhorrent. They ramp up fear and violence, and Nex’s untimely death was the result. Hate and exclusion are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
The NAIC will continue to love, stand with, and advocate for the full humanity and dignity of our Two-Spirit family in Christ as well as affirm the needs, rights, and identity of transgender youth like Nex. 
Tribal and indigenous people have survived attempts at genocide, at erasure, and the denied acknowledgement of their full humanity. The NAIC can imagine the sheer courage it took for Nex to accept who they were in spite of dominant societies pressure to confine and define them. 
May Nex be at peace on their journey to the Creator surrounded by the love of their tribe. 
God has given us work today so no child endures this suffering tomorrow. 
The recorded vigil is available to view here.