Our faith in Christ, who showed nothing less than love and compassion for people on the margins, calls us to do likewise. Therefore, we must stand with our brothers and sisters of color against the perpetuation of systemic racism. The racism we see on display and the racial biases within each of us must be confronted, named, repented of and fought against. No one deserves to be mistreated, stripped of his/her dignity or oppressed. This is not a one-time battle and it is not just something other people exhibit.
So what can we do? How can we work to combat racism and eliminate the sin of white supremacy?
1. We must PRAY. Please join us in praying for all who have been directly affected by racially-motivated acts of violence. Let us also pray for perpetrators of racist acts, that they might be awakened to the inclusive love of God for all of humanity. Please pray for the safety of those who protest, law enforcement and others who are on the streets of our cities and towns. Pray for marginalized persons and communities, that their voices may be recognized and heard; their stories respected and valued. And pray for the Holy Spirit to break through our lives, the life of the Church and the lives of individuals and communities around the globe, stirring us from complicity, apathy, or frustration toward the pursuit of justice, dismantling of hate and embodiment of love.
2. We need to look inward and do the work of introspection. Because we need to better understand our motives, actions and beliefs, we need to prayerfully examine our own biases and identify the prejudices deep within us. No one person owns the full blame for any racist act. Each of us has a responsibility to understand our role in the racist systems we allow, perpetuate and benefit from.
3. We must listen to the voices of people of color. In the days, weeks and months ahead, let us talk less and listen more. We need to hear one another into speech and trust the stories of our black brothers and sisters. But we must do more than listen.
4. We need to pursue relationships with people of color. Ask questions. Seek to learn the truths of others. We will never defeat racism if we aren’t intentional about developing honest and authentic relationships with people of differing races.
5. We must engage in action. Please consider donating to any or all of the following organizations (click on graphics to donate):
- The Just Love appeal from The Minnesota Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church allocates human and financial resources to assess and address crisis response, relief, recovery rebuilding, renewal, repentance and restitution, trauma therapy, and anti-racism. Just love addresses the food, Black home and business ownership, and health care deserts within our communities. Read Bishop Ough's letter of appeal.
- or food shelves in South Minneapolis, as the needs for food assistance will be greater with so many stores burned or closed.
- , who is working to rebuild the hardest-hit and most vulnerable small businesses on Lake Street—the majority of which are owned by immigrants and people of color.
- , a fund started by New City Church (a United Methodist church plant in the South Minneapolis) to send money to verified, local organizations doing hands-on work on the frontline, (with a bias toward black-led organizations), microloans that support individuals in the New City facing economic hardship and New City Church, as they continue to expand anti-racism programming.
6. We need to educate ourselves about race and racism. It's time to keep reading and keep learning. You may want to consider starting here:
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
- The Upper Room's compilation of resources around The Spiritual Work of Overcoming Racism
- Website: Embrace Race
- Anti-Racist Resources from Greater Good (the Greater Good Science Center at UC-Berkeley)
- Article: "Why You Should Stop Saying 'All Lives Matter,' Explained in 9 Different Ways"
- Anti-Racism Resources, includes books, films, podcasts, resources for parents and organizations to follow
- The New York Times' Anti-Racism Books for Kids
- Website: Raising Race Conscious Children
- Resources for Teens and Children and Resources for Adults compiled by the Ministry Lab at United Theological Seminary (UTS), Twin Cities
- Talking with Children and Teens About Trauma, compiled by the Ministry Lab at UTS
- The Free Library of Philadelphia's composite list of Black Lives Matter resources
- Booksforlittles.com's Anti-Racism for Kids: Starting to Talk About Race
- Blog Post: "Summer Reading: 15 Diverse Picture Books Kids Will Love"
- Twin Cities Response and Anti-Racism Resources gathered by The Minnesota Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
- Citizenship and Social Justice's Curriculum for White Americans to Educate Themselves on Race and Racism - From Ferguson to Charleston
7. We must continue the conversation. And so I hope you will join us as we consider our role in bringing about God’s dreams for a just and equal humanity.
- Read Bishop Ough's letter, Giving Breath and Voice to Cries for Justice.
- Read statements by United Methodist clergy of color on The Minnesota Annual Conference's page, Twin Cities Response and Anti-Racism Resources
Together, we will rise up. Together, we can make a difference.