Formerly called Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC)
Called to be “. . .doers of the word and not merely hearers . . .”
— James 1:22a
The Racial Equity Advocacy Committee maintains a strong prophetic witness to the church as an advocate for people of color, monitoring existing and emerging issues in the church and society as they impact our constituent communities. Issues include, but are not limited to, civil rights, racial justice, economic justice, public education, law enforcement, health care, employment, housing, immigration rights and environmental justice.
The Racial Equity Advocacy Committee (REAC) is a prophetic voice which serves to hold the PC(USA) to the commitments it has made to inclusiveness with equity in all areas of the life and work of the church in society.
REAC is responsible for involving racial ethnic people in the formation of public policy, particularly where race is a factor that negatively impacts the quality of life of people of color. The committee also monitors the implementation of policies adopted by the church that impact the quality of life of racial ethnic people in the church and in the world.
REAC advocates for full access with equity for all racial-ethnic/immigrant groups to all programs, ministries, middle governing bodies and congregations in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), monitoring decisions and issues that impact all, but most directly, the lives of racial ethnic people in the church.
The 205th General Assembly (1993) approved the creation of the Racial Equity Advocacy Committee.
According to the Presbyterian Mission Agency Manual of Operations:
The Racial Equity Advocacy Committee shall have direct access to the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board. In accordance with the recommendation of the 220th General Assembly (2012), the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board shall meet at least once every two years with the elected leadership of the advocacy committees for strategic reflection and anticipation concerning racial ethnic concerns.
Access to the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board shall be in the form of policy statements, resolutions, study papers, racial involvement reports, a yearly narrative report, Advice and Counsel Memoranda, and other appropriate correspondence. Advice and Counsel Memoranda shall be developed in consultation with other advisory and advocacy committees as appropriate.
The committee shall submit its General Assembly report to the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board Executive Committee for review and possible comments by the Presbyterian Mission Agency (Presbyterian Mission Agency Manual of Operations Appendix 1F, I.B.3).
The functions of the committee are twofold: advocacy and monitoring.
Through advocacy, the committee continually evaluates shifting social trends in church and society and provides Advice and Counsel to the General Assembly and Presbyterian Mission Agency Board in response to their request or on its own initiative. The chairperson of REAC is a corresponding member of the General Assembly and the General Assembly Mission Council.
The committee also monitors the implementation of programs and policies on racial justice. These responsibilities are fulfilled in consultation with other agencies and committees, including the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns, the Women of Color Joint Working Group, the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy and the National Caucuses and Councils representing people of color and new immigrants.
In order to effectively advocate and monitor, REAC:
- Reports directly to the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board and the General Assembly, where it participates with voice, but not vote.
- Meets three times annually.
- Provides an orientation session for commissioners to General Assembly.
- Participates in the preparation of policy statements, resolutions, recommendations, and reports to the General Assembly and Advice and Counsel Memoranda on issues of interest and concern to people of color.
- May respond to particular issues at the request of the General Assembly, the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, or on its own initiative.
- Works with the Stated Clerk, the Moderator of the General Assembly and the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency to provide information and assistance as they fulfill their responsibilities to communicate and interpret General Assembly policies on issues that impact people of color.
- Assists the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy to maintain an up-to-date and accurate compilation of General Assembly policy on racial justice concerns and provide information to the church as requested.
- Works with the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns to help the church maintain a strong prophetic witness for social justice.
- National Asian Presbyterian Council
- National Black Presbyterian Caucus
- National Hispanic/Latino Presbyterian Caucus
- National Middle Eastern Presbyterian Caucus
- Native American Consulting Committee
REAC Open Letter Regarding Racism and the Coronavirus
The Racial Equity Advocacy Committee (REAC) of the PC(USA) condemns the President of the United States for calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” and finds his actions to be racist and unacceptable. We therefore call on the President of the United States to immediately refrain from using the phrase “Chinese virus” and apologize for the hurt and harm it has done to our Asian family members. The President of the United States arrogantly describes the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” knowing that it is a racist term and has hurt, harmed and placed in danger people of Asian descent.
Read the full letter.
REAC Statement on Immigrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers
The Racial Equity Advocacy Committee (REAC) is a standing committee of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Its stated purpose is to be “… a prophetic voice for involving people of color in the formation of public policy, particularly where race is a factor that negatively impacts the quality of life of people of color. The committee also monitors the implementation of policies adopted by the church that impact the quality of life of people of color in the church and in the world” (Organization for Mission, VI.1).
Attempting to live up to our commitment as stated above and standing on the solid ground of the policies of the PC(USA) on immigration, REAC stands in solidarity with the asylum seekers and refugees from Central America, Africa, and other parts of the world, overwhelmingly people of color, who come to the southern border of the United States of America.
The asylum seekers and refugees simply try to exercise their rights under both international and U.S. regulations for such actions, escaping from violence, political upheaval, abject poverty, and food shortages caused by the U.S. interventions and economic policies, as well as climate change. As a result of these issues in their home countries, they seek refuge in the U.S. Instead, they are detained and housed indefinitely, separating children from their parents, resulting at times in untimely deaths from lack of proper medical care.
Read the full statement.
Advocacy Committees Respond to PMA Governance Task Force Proposal
We are writing in response to the January 24, 2017 announcement that the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board is seeking a dramatic change in structure. This change would reduce the size of the board by more than half and eliminate formal representation on the board from advocacy and advisory committees in the Presbyterian Church (USA). We believe this proposal is a grave error, particularly at this critical juncture in history.
Read the full statement.
REAC Statement on Standing Rock and Tulsa
Dear partner in ministry, In light of the all-too-familiar situations of racial injustice that have been in the news lately, the Racial Equity Advocacy Committee (REAC) has felt compelled to make the attached statement. Ours is a nation entrenched in systems of privilege and power that perpetuate racial injustice, and as people of faith, we have no choice but to take a stand against this and in favor of the inclusive and equitable love of Jesus Christ. This statement is but one step in taking that stand, and we would ask you as our partners in the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ to spread this statement far and wide to your constituencies.
Read the full statement.
Rev. Joo Kim’s reflections on Trump commentary | Read letter
Open letter to Donald Trump regardng Islamophobia | Read letter
REAC esponds to Donald Trump’s statements | Lea en español
The Racial Equity Advocacy Committee (REAC) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) rejects the racist and hateful remarks made by the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, which were offensive to all people, including new immigrants to the U.S. and especially people of Mexico and South America/Latin America, and those of Middle Eastern descent.
On June 16, 2015, Mr. Trump announced his candidacy with an insulting and derogatory speech against people for their ethnic identity and discriminating against citizens, residents, and workers in the U.S. based on their racial background, condemning them as criminals and unwelcome. He said, “Mexico is not our friend… When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best . . . They’re sending people that have a lot of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us [sic]. They’re bringing drugs… they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” He also affirmed, “It’s coming from more than Mexico; it’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably… probably from the Middle East.” (1)
The vicious attack through the insulting words of Mr. Trump against immigrants from Mexico, Latin America, and the Middle East are not only unacceptable but are rooted in hateful and racist stereotypes that are unacceptable and illegal in our society. His words are not only pejorative, promoting xenophobia against non-white racial and ethnic groups in our country, but also extortionist for funding of political campaign and incendiary in exploiting this racialized nation. Criminal acts can be perpetrated by all people of any particular ethnic, cultural, and national origin. We also know that The United States of America is home to the original native peoples and nations and has become home also to non-native immigrant populations since the fifteenth century, including Mr. Trump and his ancestors.
As Christians who proclaim a gospel of justice, equality, and love and believe in the Imago Dei in every human being, we continue to call on all people to confess the sins of racism, hate, and discrimination. We urge in particular citizens of the United States to reject racism, including white supremacy and false notions of entitlement and privilege.
We also call on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to confess the same sins and live out the reconciling love and communion of all saints in the unity of the Church, and as faithful disciples to continue to seek a just peace with equal rights and dignity for all.
REAC Responds to the Verdict in Ferguson
The Racial Equity Advocacy Committee expresses deep concern and holy outrage at the verdict given in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown. We lament that justice was denied for Michael Brown, his family, and the citizens of the U.S., especially people of color. A justice system that fails to indict a white officer standing trial for killing an unarmed 18-year-old black youth perpetuates the sin of racism in a society that fails to affirm that black lives matter…
Read the full statement.
An Open Letter from REAC on the 221st General Assembly’s Divestment Action
It is with deep concern that we, the members of the Racial Equity Advocacy Committee, have recognized Israel’s practices and actions against the Palestinian people, both Christians and Muslims, and Israel’s physical changes to the land and infrastructure of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and its blockade and aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip constitute (as defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (RSICC)) elements of crimes against humanity…
Read the full letter.
220th General Assembly (2012)
All of REAC’s reports and resolutions and to the 220th General Assembly (2012) were approved, though some with edits. Learn more about them here:
A Review of Efforts Regarding Cultural Proficiency and Creating a Climate for Change in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
A Resolution to Recognize the Commitment of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to Making Just Immigration a Reality
A Resolution on Racism, Incarceration and Restoration
A Resolution to Recognize the Call to Prophetic Witness in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
A Resolution on Workers’ Rights and Income Inequality
Learn about issues
- Criminal Justice
- Cultural Proficiency
- Electoral Reform
- Fair Food
- Immigrant Rights
- Racial Ethnic Farmers/Ranchers
The Racial Equity Advocacy Committee uses its regularly scheduled meetings to explore a wide range of topics of special interest to the committee and its work. REAC is committed to and has participated in Anti-Racism and Cultural Proficiency training at each of its meetings. The committee also hears and responds to reports at each meeting from all of the caucus/council/coordinating committee representatives and liaisons to and from other groups. At each meeting in Louisville, REAC connects with the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, the Director of Racial Ethnic and Women’s Ministries/Presbyterian Women, the Associate for Gender and Racial Justice, and the Racial Ethnic Leadership Development Manager, when possible.
October 2017 Chicago, IL
January 2014 Louisville, KY
January 2013 Louisville, KY
July 2013 Louisville, KY
November 2013 Dallas, TX
There are currently 12 elected members of the committee.
Two from each of the following constituencies (of which one shall be from the recognized caucus of that constituency):
Middle Eastern Americans
Two members at-large
Class of 2022
Ashley DeTar Birt
Black|African American At-large
Fern Cloud, Subcommittee Chair
Native American Consulting Committee
Michelle Hwang, REAC Chair
Middle Eastern At-large
Carmen Rosario, REAC Vice Chair
Caucus Nacional Presbiteriano Hispano Latino
Class of 2024
Holly Haile Thompson, Secretary
Indigenous | Native American At-large
National Asian Presbyterian Council
National Middle Eastern Presbyterian
Adebisi (Bisi) Shofu, Subcommittee Chair
Flora Wilson Bridges
National Black Presbyterian Caucus
Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP)
Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns (ACWC)
GA Committee on Representation (GACOR)