06.19.20 | Racial Justice
Why is the Discipleship Council issuing this statement of commitment ?
The Discipleship Council is a 19-member body whose role is to ensure that conference resources align with the BWC’s vision, mission, and critical issues. One of these critical issues is racial justice. The Discipleship Council oversees and monitors accountability for the Baltimore-Washington Conference response to the Northeastern Jurisdiction’s Call to Action, issued in 2016. This Commitment is a continuation and expansion of the BWC’s justice work in this arena and is based, in part, upon knowledge gained from data gained in the 2019 Pastors Report.
Who is supposed to sign this? Churches or individuals?
Whether you are one person who is working to move your church toward becoming an anti-racist church or if your church leadership or church as a whole has made the commitment please sign the commitment. In order to understand the magnitude of commitment, we are asking that each person in your church who has been a part of the decision making process and/or have made a personal commitment, to sign the form.
Once I sign this, what happens?
We celebrate your commitment and your question! Your digital signature — along with your church’s name, city, and state — will become a part of this movement to make different choices about how you are participating in the dismantling of racism. If your congregation is a part of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, all congregations will be asked to report on progress on the NEJ Call to Action at their Church Conference in the fall of 2020. While all churches have access to our vast online resources (bwcumc.org/justicenow), those churches who have made this commitment to do this sacred work will be given priority for consultation and cohort formation if desired. There will be monthly check-ins for support, encouragement, resourcing and more.
Is this for White churches only? By the very definition of racism, Black churches can’t be antiracist because Blacks are in the minority in this country.
Even though people of color might not agree with Ibram X. Kendi’s definition of the term “racist,” we invite you to remain at the table. The National Museum of African American History & Culture’s “Talking About Race” series states that, “Being antiracist is different for white people than it is for people of color. For white people, being antiracist evolves with their racial identity development. They must acknowledge and understand their privilege, work to change their internalized racism, and interrupt racism when they see it. For people of color, it means recognizing how race and racism have been internalized, and whether it has been applied to other people of color.”
I'm not racist. Why do I have to be anti-racist?
Even though white people may not agree that they are racist, we invite you to remain at the table. After years of diversity training, advocacy efforts, and lived experience, there is evidence that either one is actively working toward dismantling personal, institutional, and systemic racism (anti-racist) or one is not (racist). There isn’t a third category. You may be kind to everyone you meet and be racist. It is also important to note in this conversation on race that the idea of “reverse racism” is not a valid concept. People of faith are called to rise, speak out and to take action, as Christ did, to affirm that all people are sacred and worth, made equal in the image of God. As we move forward in this journey of justice, it is essential that all people remain at the table together -- in conversation, prayer, and response. Learn more about Being Antiracist here.