“One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.”
While some improvements to this shameful condition have been made, the recent and continued police shootings of African Americans force us to admit that our society is still divided. Structural racism and white privilege have existed since before the rise of slavery in America. Today they still blind the dominant culture to the daily struggles faced by African Americans and by other people of color. White privilege and structural racism still deform the very character and judgment of American society.
Online social media and the speed with which videos can now travel has shed light on the recent and continued shootings of African Americans–but we acknowledge that these atrocities have always happened. It is time for us to rise up and face our own biases. It is time for us to take a stand and help to change the image of African Americans in both personal and public consciousness through support, education and love.
AS PEOPLE OF FAITH, we acknowledge that diversity is at the heart of a healthy society–but that diversity requires the ongoing struggle for justice and for peace. We consider anything less than the full appreciation of each human being to be an insult to our maker and therefore a sin. We name racism as a sin and incompatible with our faith traditions.
WE MOURN with those who have lost African American brothers and sisters shot and killed by police. We also mourn the deaths of police officers shot by those who succumb to violence and vengeance.
WE REMIND ourselves and the wider world that ALL people are created in the image of God, whose extravagant love calls us to healing and reconciliation even now. By the grace and love of God, we affirm that racism cannot be overcome with bullets, malice, vengeance or with violence in any form.
AND WE PLEDGE:
1) That we ourselves will be intentionally inclusive and engage beyond our comfort zones with other members of our congregation, as well as with individuals in the wider community.
2) That we will be available for future congregational or community forums, discussions and actions that will continue to build a movement for intentionally inclusive diversity.