More Light’s Board and Staff Leadership unanimously join in the statement. We also recognize and honor Ashley and Kerri’s labor in calling out the church’s failure and are grateful for Ashley’s service as a Co-Moderator of the MLP board. We confess the participation of the church — of which we are a part — in the structural sin that has exploited, abused, and dehumanized Black women and girls. We affirm the imago dei of Black women and girls as we recognize their cries. We commit to listening and in the work of racial justice, attending to the particularity of the plight of Black women and girls.
We call out the church — of which we are a part — for not taking up this issue, or even taking the time to consider and make this inclusive statement, at this year’s General Assembly.
The 224th GA adopted an anti-racism statement with a glaring oversight in that it failed to specifically name Black women and girls in Item 00–29, “On the Church in this Moment in History: Responding to the Sin of Racism and a Call to Action.” For a critical recap of the General Assembly’s actions and inactions please read this important statement signed by past Moderators, Co-Moderators, and Vice Moderators of the PCUSA General Assembly.
If we as a church are to commit to the work of anti-racism, our words must result in action — and our words and our action must include and name all those harmed by the evils of racism — including Black women and girls. The LGBTQIA+ movement owes its life to Black women and girls. Not just the labors of Black women and girls to further the rights and recognition of our communities, but for who they are as beloveds of God’s creation.
Throughout the long history of the work to further LGBTQIA+ inclusion, we know the work of justice is far more than a statement. We also know the work to impact the lived experience of marginalized communities happens far more between General Assemblies. Following the guidance of the Disparities Experienced by Black Women and Girls Task Force Report
More Light Presbyterians wholeheartedly commits to:
- engage in the work of eradicating systemic violence against Black women and girls in its work throughout all ministry areas;
- create opportunities for LGBTQIA+ identified Black clergy to come together for fellowship, education, and mutual support for the work of ministry with a specific focus on Trans Black Church leadership,
- provide resources for awareness and sensitivity around intersections of race/gender/sexual orientation.
- continue to partner with Rev. Shanea Leonard and the Office of Gender & Racial Justice – a division of the Racial Equity & Women’s Ministries in the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
We affirm that the only way forward is through an immediate, life-long individual and collective commitment to repair and reconciliation.
On July 1 we will be tuning in to Just Talk Live on the Facebook page of Unbound: An Interactive Journal of Christian Social Justice for a special show (July 1 at 2pm EST) dedicated to Black women and girls. Revs. Kerri Allen and Ashley DeTar Birt will lead this important conversation. Just Talk Live is hosted by Justice UnBound and produced in partnership with Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) Program – Presbyterian Church (USA).
In solidarity and love,
The Staff and Board of More Light Presbyterians
Rev. Ashley DeTar Birt, More Light Board Co-Moderator
Rev. Scott Clark, More Light Board Co-Moderator
Rev. Ann Deibert
Rev. Larissa Kwong Abazia
Amy Kim Kyremes-Parks
Rev. Ashley McFaul-Erwin
Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow
Jessica Vazquez Torres
Rev. Alex Patchin McNeill, More Light Executive Director
Rev. Jess Cook, More Light Program & Communications Manager
Susan Robertson, More Light Operations Assistant