“Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy” Proverbs 31:9
Our hearts are all aching from the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Amhaud Arbery that the nation has witnessed in the past few weeks. We acknowledge that these humans are just a few of thousands of the Black and other people of color killed by police violence every year, including many in our own backyard (Sean Monterossa, Alex Nieto, Steven Taylor, Mario Woods, Angel Ramos). We see that the COVID19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis has disproportionately affected communities of color and has led to racist attacks against Asians. We recognize that these events cannot simply be written off as the sins of a few white racists, but rather reflect systemic racism and a legacy of white supremacy that is embedded American history and institutions.
First and foremost, we understand that these events are traumatic and we are here to provide community and a safe space for our members to grieve these events and the enduring legacy of racial injustice in our country. In addition, as a church community that believes in the radically inclusive nature of God, we believe that we are called not only to be true to our own vision within our own church, but also to speak up for change within our community, as expressed in the Proverbs passage above. The General Assembly of the PCUSA has already identified dismantling structural racism as a key component of its Mission inspired by Matthew 25:31-46, which calls us all to be actively engaged in our community. The SAPC community recognizes that these recent events, while not isolated, have provided us with a moment to discern whether our actions reflect our commitment to this cause.
The Leadership Council of SAPC believes that this is an appropriate time to reaffirm our commitment to act and speak up against racial injustice in this country and is writing to ask our community to commit to three areas of action.
- Education on Racial Justice: We recognize that no matter how deeply we feel that racial oppression is wrong, we can always learn more about how to be allies and advocates for change and how to better create a space that is radically inclusive. As a council we are committing to providing workshops, discussions, and worship opportunities to address the topic of racial injustice. We will also commit to finding online and offline ways of sharing resources we discover on this journey.
- Financially Invest in Racial Justice: While we support systemic change, we also recognize that we can do more to directly support young people of color who are struggling against the lack of opportunities due to entrenched racial injustice. In the next 4 weeks, we will be conducting a special offering to raise money for local groups that support people of color and invite you to give as generously as you can. In the long term we hope to develop a relationship with a local organization focusing on racial injustice and making that part of our annual mission budget.
- Advocate for Racial Justice: Following God’s call to speak up against injustice, we are going to be looking for ways for SAPC to be more involved in local efforts to reform our justice, education, and policing institutions, such as supporting changes advocated by Campaign Zero. The Mission committee will work on coordinating letter writing campaigns to support worthy legislation and coordinating appearances at local rallies.
We write this letter with great faith in the spirit of our church to model radical inclusivity, but also with humility in knowing that the task is daunting and we may not always know the best way forward. We invite everyone in our community to join in on this conversation to find a way that we can support meaningful change. If you are interested in getting involved please contact Nick Endres ([email protected]).
SAPC Leadership Council