Introduction Letter: Minister for Racial Justice
It is with great joy and God’s blessings that I serve as the Minister for Racial Justice with the Justice and Local Church Ministries staff within the United Church of Christ National Office.
“Open the gates of justice! I will enter and tell the Lord how thankful I am.” Psalm 118:19
In America, the topic of race continues to be difficult to discuss in many social settings. Very few Christian churches are leading bold and courageous conversations, engaging in direct social activism, and participating in civil disobedience as a way to bring attention to and disrupt racist systems and structures.
The Christian Church is the catalyst for addressing historical and contemporary issues regarding the intersections of race and racism that continues to harm communities of color. The United Church of Christ acknowledges and supports the equality of all humans. In 1993, The Nineteenth General Synod called upon UCC congregations in all its settings to be a true multiracial and multicultural church. Twenty-five years later the call continues to go forth.
The call to be a multiracial and multicultural church is an acknowledgement that racial justice is the inclusiveness of all humans and never excludes anyone based on skin color, culture or ethnic origin. The United Church of Christ stands in solidarity with the creation narrative in Genesis 1:26-27, which clearly outlines what matters to God—all of humankind and a just world for all. God created humankind in God’s image and likeness, women and men are image bearers, sharing equal status as human beings. God did not create race, racism, superior groups of humans, and hierarchical and hegemonic social structures. God does not sanction human suffering including America’s involvement in—
- Inhumane social confinement due to mass incarceration and surveillance of communities of color
- Global confiscation of another cultures land and resources
- Human trafficking and the enslavement and sexual violence and assault against women and children
- Deportation and the separation of families from immigrant communities
- Police brutality and militarized tactics and abuses resulting in the murder of people of color
- Using global armaments and acts of terrorism on innocent civilians domestically and abroad
- Supporting White Christian supremacy over and against non-Christian faith communities
In the Hebrew Scriptures the Psalmist tells us “The earth and everything on it belongs to the Lord,” (Psalm 24:1), and the Gospel of John affirms what matters to God when the writer says, “For God so loved the world…” in John 3:16. Therefore the United Church of Christ believes that “God is Still Speaking” and those who believe so are called to “Be the Church” creating a “Just World for All”
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, of courage and resolution, to meet difficulties and dangers; the spirit of love which will carry us through opposition.” 2 Timothy 1:7
CHRISTIANS RESTORATING JUSTICE FOR ALL!
Restorative justice means celebrating humanity’s rich cultures and diverse ethnic backgrounds, traditions, and expressions of faith. Racial justice demands Christians actively, boldly, and without reservation participate in dismantling racism within systems and structures that oppress people, limit equal access, and denies children, women, and men their civil and human rights.
WE DEVELOP AND PROVIDE resources, conduct workshops, and provide ongoing consultation for congregations to acquire knowledge and skills in intersectional racial justice advocacy. Christian activists are equipped to:
- Educate others to speak up when people are assaulted verbally and physically
- Advocate for and with historically oppressed and underrepresented communities
- Strategize and organize to eradicate hate speech and shut down white nationalism threats
- Engage in direct nonviolent social actions to correct and eliminate racist policies and behaviors
- Respond and assist families experiencing terrorism and militarized police violence
- Learn and teach from culture-centered biblical and theological resources
- Develop meaningful relationships across interfaith and ecumenical traditions
- Restructure capitalism and create more equitable systems of economic access and sustainability
- Resist patriarchy at all cost and create models of equitable leadership across all gender identities
- Eradicate constructed race categories within the Christian Church and society
- Dismantle economic systems of inequality
- Restore God’s human family—equally valuing all identities and people groups
Our intention is to disrupt and dismantle structures and systems that perpetuate racism. Racism has no place in our world. Racism must never be taught as a Biblical principle because God did not create superior people groups and cultures. Racism should never be tolerated in worship spaces, preached from pulpits, allowed in communities, or supported by local, state, and national government leaders.
We affirm God’s creation. All people bear God’s image and likeness with equal status.
God desires all people be treated with dignity and respect, to live free, and move about the earth without borders, walls, and threats of separation and annihilation.
God is Still Speaking
GET INVOLVED – ANSWER THE CALL TO ACTION – DISMANTLE RACISM
Visit our website: www.ucc.org/justice_issues
For more information contact: Velda Love, Minister for Racial Justice (216) 736-3719