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‘We are accountable to the commitments we have made’

Two advocacy committees call on the PC(USA) to recommit to the struggle for racial justice

by Racial Equity Advocacy Committee and Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns | Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Honoring the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, the Racial Equity Advocacy Committee and the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns issue a call to immediate action, reminding the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) we are accountable to the commitments we have made.

Because of our biblical understanding of who God is and what God intends for humanity, the PC(USA) must stand against, speak against, and work against racism. Antiracist effort is not optional for Christians. It is an essential aspect of Christian discipleship, without which we fail to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Anti-black racism has been a structural component of the United States from the beginning. The Constitution defined an African American as three-fifths of a person, denying their full humanity. The economic foundations of the United States were built on slave labor. The legal system of the United States has consistently perpetuated the subjugation of African Americans throughout the history of the nation.

While recognizing that racism victimizes many different racial ethnic groups, we acknowledge its unique impact on the African American community. Given the particular forms that anti-black racism has taken in the United States of America both historically (including slavery and Jim Crow) and today (including mass incarceration, disproportionate policing, economic inequality, and continuing acts of racially oriented violence and hate), we state clearly: GOD LOVES BLACKNESS. Too many have denied this basic truth for too long. Our choice to align ourselves with love and not hate requires both a rejection of racism and a positive proclamation that God delights in black lives.

The possibility now exists for the PC(USA), in light of its tradition, heritage, theology, ethics, and spiritual commitment, to become open to self-critical analysis with regard to racism both within its midst and in our society. The PC(USA) can challenge public policy, actions, and structures that promote and perpetuate racism. We can honor the divine will for human relationships by demonstrating a serious commitment to God’s covenant of love, justice, and peace in human community and undertake radical transformation of its identity and behavior as it becomes an antiracism church in its thinking, judgments, and actions.

The PC(USA), and indeed the Christian community, must recommit to the struggle for racial justice. Churches must provide a moral compass for the nation by getting involved in shaping public policies that will move the nation towards justice, peace, and reconciliation.

From Facing Racism: A Vision of the Intercultural Community Churchwide Antiracism Policy, Approved by the 222nd General Assembly (2016).

For some examples of actions white folks can take:

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