Tag Archives: Black Lives Matter

#FreeThePeopleDay!

Tomorrow is the 4th annual #FreeThePeopleDay! On New Years Eve in 2017, the Community Justice Exchange started this initiative. This year the CJE, the New Sanctuary Coalition, and others, again call people to donate the cost of a drink to their local community bail or bond fund.

Freedom means freedom from cages, and it also means freedom to thrive. Support the holistic freedom of your neighbors and donate to a local mutual aid effort, community bail fund or immigration bond fund. Find a fund in your area.

Tricia and I are in. We will give to the Louisville Community Bail Fund project of BLM Louisville.

Thank you if you choose to participate.

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Presbyterian advocacy group issues challenge to ‘raise our collective voice’

From the Advocacy Committee on Racial Ethnic Concerns of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns calls church to action

Press Release | ACREC

The Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC) calls the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to embody what it has confessed, “that the church as the possession of God must stand where the Lord stands, namely against injustice and with the wronged; that in following Christ the church must witness against all the powerful and privileged who selfishly seek their own interests and thus control and harm others. Therefore, we reject any ideology which would legitimate forms of injustice and any doctrine which is unwilling to resist such an ideology in the name of the gospel.”
– Belhar Confession

People of color in the U.S. are being killed by police in disproportionate numbers because of the color of their skin, their race, and ethnicity. We condemn and lament the continued and routine killing of unarmed people of color particularly African American men and call for full investigations in the police killings of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Tyre King in Columbus, Ohio.

People of color in the U.S. live under surveillance, the threat of deportation, and constant systemic violence. We are alarmed by the Obama administration’s continuing pattern of deportation and family separation. We are alarmed by the ways in which police and ordinary citizens are deputized, formally and informally, to perpetuate this culture of surveillance and violence. We are alarmed by the persistence of anti-Muslim and Islamophobic rhetoric and policy proposals abounding in the current presidential campaign.

People of color in the U.S. are being attacked and criminalized for their courageous stands against police violence, greed, environmental injustice, and treaty violations. We condemn the use of militarized private contractors to remove the Native Americans encamped at the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers seeking to stop the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline that threatens water, earth, and indigenous sacred spaces.

People of color in the U.S. are reminded daily in explicit and implicit ways of the hold white supremacy has over the soul of this nation. White supremacy; as a church we must say it. It is white supremacy that lies at the root of the systemic violence that kills, suffocates the life, limits the mobility, and creates the logic for the policing and detention of people of color in the United States.

Given this reality, ACREC calls the members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to leave the comfort of their buildings to put their bodies on the line as co-conspirators in a movement for transformation, to stand for reparative justice instead of cheap reconciliation, to join communities of resistance, declaring that all people are created by God which means uttering without equivocation that Black Lives Matter!

We call the members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to support the efforts of those gathered at Standing Rock to protect the water, the land, and the generations of people whose lives are threatened by the Dakota Access Pipeline expansion.

We call the teaching elders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to not just lament and pray for change but to challenge the members of their congregation to acknowledge and confess our participation in systems of oppression and to lead them to work for justice in and outside of the church.

We call the ruling elders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to exercise their spiritual and ecclesiastical leadership by creating and formulating ways for their congregation to engage in actions – economic and programmatic – that interrupt white supremacy.

ACREC strongly encourages the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and all of its members to join the mobilization of 5,000 prayers and/or actions around the world calling for water rights, clean air, and the restoration of the earth and its peoples by participating in the International Days of Prayer and Action with Standing Rock (October 8-11, 2016).

ACREC also strongly encourages the congregations and mid-councils of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to support the newly established Freedom Rising Fund created as a result of an action taken by the 222nd General Assembly (2016). This fund will support specific actions, “not just in word, but also in deed, to address and improve the worsening plight of the African American male.” Congregations and mid-councils are asked to direct a portion of the Peace and Global Witness Offering to this fund.

Finally, we urge our church and all of its members, especially those who are white, to join us in breaking silence. Commit with us to raise our collective voice not just to proclaim the good news of God’s grace but to call out injustice, to call out the forces that threaten to tear us apart with xenophobic, racist, and Islamophobic rhetoric. May we have the courage.

Buddy Monahan (Chair, ACREC)
Thomas Priest Jr.(Vice Chair, ACREC)

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The Good Samaritan, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile

At least two more black men lie dead at the hands of the police. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Say their names. Remember their families and friends and all who grieve. Black Lives Matter.

I weep. And rage. And ache.

I need to do more.

In response to a lawyer’s question, Jesus told a parable about a man who was beaten and left for dead by the side of the Jericho Road. Some passed by and failed to help.

Then came a Samaritan. An other. The least expected person. And the Samaritan stopped to help. He bound the wounds of the beaten man and took him to an inn for further assistance. Go and do likewise, Jesus told the lawyer.

Hopefully the lawyer went forth to try and care for those beaten, battered, and wounded by life. I try. I often fall short but I try. Many others do. Many far better than I.

But then I think …

What would happen the next week if the Samaritan came along the Jericho Road and found another beaten person?

And the next week?

And the next?

How long would it take the Samaritan to realize that something had to change–that the Samaritan had to help change things–or there would be wounds to bind forever?

Perhaps the road needed widening. Or brush needed to be cleared. Or the economic conditions that led people to rob needed to be addressed.

Sooner or later, we realize that it is not enough simply to bind up those wounded and left along the Jericho roads of life.We realize that expressing love corporately involves seeking justice in corporate, public decisions, actions, and policies. We have to address the conditions that contribute to people being wounded. We have to transform the systems that inflict the wounds.

At least two more black men lie dead at the hands of the police. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Say their names. Remember their families and friends and all who grieve. Black Lives Matter.

This is not a question of either binding wounds or transforming systems. We do not have to choose. We cannot choose. To recreate our society, we have to do both.

Change will involve working on laws and practices. It will involve working on attitudes and values.

What am I going to do? I have a lot to learn, but here are some first steps I will take:

Listen, really listen, to the voices of people who our society and culture has pushed to the margin. And then act accordingly.

Recognize the privilege that is mine and how privilege in different areas of life intersects and reinforces privilege; push back against privilege.

Educate myself, and when possible, others.

Speak up and challenge racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, classism, and all systems of belief and practice that tell me any person is not a beloved child of God.

Show up at rallies and witnesses.

 

Explore ways to share power. Last night’s #presbyintersect conversation on Twitter reminded me that the image of table is an image of power; it challenged me to ponder the image of tabernacle in its place.

 

Work for human rights: an end to mass incarceration, an end to deportation and immigrant detention, economic justice for workers, voting rights.

Seek and join groups that are working to address racial profiling, militarization, stop-and-frisk policies, and other issues related to policing.

Know there is more. There is always more. And I will try to remain open to that.

I will make mistakes and I will pick myself up and start again.

 

This post is late. Too many have died. Blacks. Indigenous. Latinx. Asian. Trans. Too many. One is too many. This post should have happened long ago.

But I will learn. And, in ways I cannot yet imagine, I will change.

At least two more black men lie dead at the hands of the police. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Say their names. Remember their families and friends and all who grieve. Black Lives Matter.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events