More Light stands in solidarity with the faithful witness of the counter-protesters who peacefully assembled against the largest white nationalist march in decades in Charlottesville, VA this weekend. We are grateful to many in our More Light community who preached, prayed, showed up to vigils, and declared that love is stronger than hate.
Though the weekend is behind us, the impact of the racist violence in Charlottesville and in our country is far from over. We believe that we must confront racism and white supremacy when it shows up as a public event, but also within our own systems and institutions.
While the events in Charlottesville were devastating, they are not isolated incidents. As Christians we are called upon, especially those of us who are white, to acknowledge the ways in which white supremacy infiltrates every facet of our lives, and to work to dismantle the structures of white supremacy in our own lives, in the Church, and in our world. We must lift up our voices and resist. Silence and denial are part of the ways the system of oppression stays in place.
Many of us are wondering what to do in the wake of the events this weekend. We believe there has never been a better time to act. Here at More Light, we have been working with Jessica Vazquez Torres at Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing and Training to examine our own policies and programs for ways they reflect our commitment to racial justice and equity. In the next few months our board will be making recommendations for tangible ways MLP can further our mission to reflect God’s abundance through our resistance to white supremacy.
Here are some additional ways to get involved.
- Donate to support the medical expenses of the protestors who were wounded: https://www.gofundme.com/medical-fund-for-comrades-in-cville
Get connected with a national group at the forefront of organizing around racial justice. Here’s two organizations we follow:
- Movement for Black Lives: https://policy.m4bl.org
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ): http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org
Bring a conversation about racial justice to your congregation. The following are some great places to start:
- The Reverend Denise Anderson and the Reverend Jan Edmiston, Co‐Moderators of the 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), have invited the church to read and discuss the book, Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving. They have created a companion study guide for congregations published through the PCUSA.
- Last fall, More Light hosted our first Teach-In series on Racial Justice, to help equip our congregations for critical conversations and action around racial equity. We’ve posted the powerpoint slides and videos from that series which can be useful for personal enrichment or congregational conversations found here.
- Share the statement from the PCUSA on the events in Charlottesville. This could be read aloud in worship or as part of your Sunday School class.
As white people, it is very important to do some internal work as we are engaging externally in our congregations or communities around racial justice. Here are a few great resources for those of us who are white:
- This guide helps uncover and expose how white supremacy is maintained within our US culture. It is a great lens to help white folks recognize the subtle, and not so subtle ways we might be perpetuating that system: http://www.cwsworkshop.org/PARC_site_B/dr-culture.html
- How to show up for racial justice as a white person: http://southernersonnewground.org/2015/03/white-people-movement-role/
- A good primer on how to talk to your kids about race: https://medium.com/@realtalkwocandallies/white-parents-heres-how-to-start-talking-to-your-children-about-race-321eae4d1095
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to go next in times like these. Often God’s faithfulness comes in a call to go to the places we are afraid to go. More Light’s hope is that we are able to trust in God to instill in us the courage to be the people God has called us to be.
Yours in the journey,
The More Light Presbyterians Team