Stay Safe. We’re in this Together. These familiar messages take on new meaning in light of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, Ahmaud Arbery and others; in light of the protests happening in our cities; in light of the magnified hardship Covid-19 imposes on communities of color.
A virus, like the coronavirus we are fighting, needs a host to exist and to create damage. Racism, like a virus, also needs a host to exist. We have had to learn how to defend ourselves against acquiring the virus, how to recognize its acquisition, and how to get healthy again when it is acquired. We must do the same with racism, on individual and collective levels, if we are to overcome its devastation to the fabric of our society.
‘Running for your Life’: A Community Poem for Ahmaud Arbery that aired on NPR’s Morning Edition asks: “What is the vaccine for this pandemic?”
As Episcopalians, our faith tells us we are all created in image of God. We are one community. We pray to love our neighbors as ourselves. We acknowledge that racism is a sin that separates us from God. We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf. The rage happening in our cities is a cry that we are failing to love our neighbor as ourselves.
The Commission to Dismantle Racism and Discrimination is committed to strengthening understanding, relationship, and love across our racial and cultural diversity as Episcopalians and within our communities. We seek racial reconciliation through conversation, reflection, and action for change. We work to raise awareness of the white privilege and implicit bias that continue to plague our society and enable acquiesce to racial injustice, especially today’s excessive use of police force against people of color. We lament that America has been more unwilling, than unable, to change.
As people of faith and members of the commission, we join with other faith leaders in calling out the racist act that resulted in the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. We condemn the actions of police officers who use force as if they were above the law. We stand in solidarity with the community to put an end to the hundreds of years of oppression and injustice that the African American community continues to endure. And we encourage white people to listen with humility and love to what is being said: Black Lives Matter. Together, as one community, let us move forward toward Becoming Beloved Community, forming loving, liberating and life-giving relationships with each other, all of us growing as reconcilers, justice-makers, and healers in the name of Christ.
photo courtesy of Episcopal News Service