Our country has been divided by its long-standing tradition of systemic racism. Prejudice, injustice, lack of respect for human dignity, and privilege are its many roots. The nationwide demonstrations of the past weeks have signaled a moment of awakened national awareness. Christians who profess to believe in human dignity and equality should be leading a call for structural changes that bring an end to systemic racism. Each of us needs to examine our complicity whether it is intentional or not. Gaps among racial and ethnic groups affect education, housing, health care, the justice system and job opportunities. In order to build healthy communities, we need to face this. If we are going to make any progress in this country, people from all backgrounds and views have to admit the situation honestly and work together to address its inequities.
May we realize that we are all one.
Be willing to be a part of honest dialogue on this issue. Explore approaches to creating greater equity and creating lasting change in your community. Examine yourself and your own attitudes and beliefs. Where do you see yourself? What can you do?
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
For God does not show favoritism.
We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.
Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.
Black Lives Matter simply refers to the notion that there’s a specific vulnerability for African Americans that needs to be addressed. It’s not meant to suggest that other lives don’t matter. It’s to suggest that other folks aren’t experiencing this particular vulnerability.
Racism is a white problem. It was constructed and created by white people and the ultimate responsibility lies with white people. For too long we’ve looked at it as if it were someone else’s problem, as if it were created in a vacuum.
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it. It’s up to all of us — Black, white, everyone — no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out.
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.
To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try.
White supremacy fundamentally is the assumption that this country, its political institutions, its cultural heritage, its social policies and its public spaces belong to white people in a way that they do not belong to others. It is the basic assumption that some naturally belong in our public and cultural space and others have to justify being there.
Rev. Bryan Massingale
Juneteenth is a unifying holiday. It is the completion of the celebration of freedom in America.*
Steve Williams, President of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation
* Juneteenth marks the most significant event in American history after independence itself—the eradication of American slavery.