Black persons were dehumanized through the institution of slavery and the follow-on segregation and continued denial of human rights. Indigenous peoples were conquered, their lands seized, and their cultural heritage driven almost to extinction. Asian peoples were exploited, some forced into internment camps. Systemic racism of all kinds continues still today.
Our belief is that God calls us to not only affirm the human rights of all persons of color, but also to actively reject and dismantle the institutional racism and white supremacy culture that oppresses them and ultimately harms us all. We are committed to doing this work. As siblings in Christ, we stand with people of all races, ethnicities and creeds, and pray for people everywhere suffering injustice.
This manifests itself today in numerous injustices, including police brutality, voter suppression, segregated neighborhoods, and an economic inequality that results in less access to quality health care and less access to quality education. We must always work to name, reject, and dismantle racism and white supremacy culture that works to benefit some at the expense of others.
Therefore, we, a predominately white Christian congregation, must confess we have benefited from this rigid caste system and have been complicit in its perpetuation. This complicity must end! We unequivocally affirm BLACK LIVES MATTER. Our central belief as Christians is that one cannot truly love God if one does not love one’s siblings, and we are all children of God.
The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Manuel Ellis, and countless others not filmed or on the news, are the result of a nation that is fundamentally flawed and rooted in white supremacy. We are called by Jesus to not only affirm the basic human rights and dignity of all people of color, but also to actively dismantle the institutionalized racism that oppresses them and harms us all. We are committed to doing this work!
- Doing deep, mindful work to examine and reflect on our own racial identities—understanding our white-centered culture and how it operates in our congregation and shows up in our relationships with Black, Brown, and Indigenous people.
- Look within ourselves and our own community for signs of racism: consider whose voices we draw knowledge and inspiration from, examine the books we have on our shelves, the art we choose to display, the stories we tell our children and reflect on how these choices inform who we are, where we stand, and what we believe.
- Call on policy makers to enact and enforce legislation that ensures fairness in our criminal justice and law enforcement systems as well as equitable access and outcomes in education, housing, employment, healthcare, community services, and voting rights.
- Provide on-going educational opportunities and discussions for our own congregation and community regarding race and the effects of racism in our congregation and beyond.
- Recognize implicit biases in ourselves and each other and interrupt the negative stereotypes we form from those unconscious biases.
- Commit our resources and join our voices with the elders, allies, and influencers within organizations fighting for justice across our country.