July 14, 2020
In solidarity with those protesting the murder of George Floyd and for the dismantling of anti-Blackness
(inspired by a statement and call from the leadership of University Congregational UCC)
Plymouth Church United Church of Christ emphatically declares, “Black lives matter.” To do so is our moral prerogative and our call to stand with the least and the last as a manifestation of our faith in God in Jesus Christ.
Institutionalized and systemic racism, and more specifically anti-Blackness, has been a debilitating lived reality for our siblings in the United States for centuries. Though many believed the scourge of anti-Blackness was vanquished and a state in which we were beyond, the death of George Floyd, has become an inflection point to illustrate clearly that our nation and the communities within have not understood the cost and impact to human lives, the centuries of oppression that have led to economic, physical, and mental toll. We have not done the work of truth-telling, listening and responding to the most impacted so that the necessary work of reconciliation is possible. Only after such work can a movement of healing and transformation begin.
In these last months, the cacophony of systemic racism and its cost in human lives has been on full display. While the global pandemic due to the coronavirus rages on, so too has the pandemic of anti-Blackness. We bear witness with our siblings in Christ who are Black, Brown, and Indigenous, to the suffering and death they experience at the hands of police, in prisons, in medical institutions, at our border, and disproportionately from coronavirus. These interconnected injustices are born from systemic racism and supremacist culture, and the lack of understanding as to how the convergence of systems has created sustained oppression.
George Floyd’s murder is but one on the list that lengthens continually and will do so until we face the truth: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Iyanna Dior, and local siblings such as Charleena Lyles, Manuel Ellis and Che Taylor.
We resist silence in the face of God and in response to the crisis before us. Therefore, we will speak for justice and stand in solidarity with African American community as those in covenant with our church and others withstand injustice after injustice. We will honor the call to protest and rise up against institutions, policies and systems that cause harm as voices cry, “I can’t breathe.” Therefore, as people of faith, we proclaim that together, we stand with those who are undoing anti-Black racism and white supremacy culture.
We have witnessed elected officials of our city, our state, and our nation call for a response of domination, furthering the deadly impact toward those who are crying out for justice.
Therefore, we call on the elected officials to disavow violent retribution, to listen to community organizers and leaders’ demands, and to partner with protesters to enact lasting and meaningful change.
We have witnessed police weaponize tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and other escalation responses against nonviolent protestors, including journalists, bystanders, and our clergy colleagues. We have also watched decisions that appear influenced by racial bias to not respond in such ways. Therefore, we call for a de-escalation of police response, and a commitment from policing groups to disavow acts of provocation and violence while engaging in community policing that re-prioritizes funding toward a more holistic and comprehensive expression.
In the face of death and human impact, we have witnessed concern for property that diverts attention from humans who are suffering from systemic racism and the lives that have been lost because of it. Therefore, we call for a continued focus of attention and a commitment of resources to dismantle deadly racism and supremacist culture.
This is the moment that becomes a movement. This is the inflection point in our history that can change things for the better in our church, our city, our nation and our world. We are the ones for which we have been waiting. There can be the moral turning for which we long in the world if we but answer the call of Micah: to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
Therefore, we will not be silent, and we commit ourselves anew to this ongoing work.
Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown, Lead Pastor
Rev. Steve Davis, Executive Minister
Rev. Kevin Bechtold, Minister for Children and Families
Rev. Donene Blair, Minister of Community Care
Jennifer Castle, Director of Faith Formation and Pastoral Intern
Toni Arthur, Office Receptionist
Sari Breznau, Soul Choir Director
Anna Colwell, Youth Forum Coordinator/Social Media Coordinator
Dr. Wanda Griffiths, Director of Music and Organist
June Hayakawa-Fung, Faith Community Nurse
Diane Jacobsen, Executive Assistant
Jenny Kaiton, Faith Formation Program Coordinator
Suzanne Sanderson, Librarian
J. Oliver Stellfox, Sound Technician
Robert Turner, Herald Editor
Plymouth Church UCC Worship is experienced on our Plymouth YouTube Channel and Facebook pages each Sunday through September 4, 2020. Please join us for Worship, then for Coffee Hour ONLINE following on Zoom.
We look to God for the breaking of oppression and healing in the land. Let us stand together with one voice as we watch, fight, and pray with life prioritized.
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