Chena Ridge Friends Meeting (Quakers) adds its testimony to the many voices saying Black Lives Matter. We share the feelings of despair and anger over the evident lack of humanity reflected in continuing political hate speech, police violence against citizens they are supposed to serve and protect, and the disproportionate loss of lives during the pandemic due to the lack of adequate health care.
Quakers historically referred to themselves as Friends of the Truth. The truth so glaringly unveiled to us in recent months is the systemic racism in our laws, our health care, our education, and our economic systems. The cries of Black Americans are finally being heard on the streets of our country. Like most Americans we were shocked out of our complacency by the horrific images of George Floyd’s death. We don’t want this moment to pass and become old news. We cannot go back to “normal.” Fundamental changes need to be made.
Systemic racism is not what God intended for humanity. We believe there is that of God in everyone, and this principle underlies our advocacy for nonviolent resistance to injustice. While Friends have a history of righteous protest we cannot rest on our past actions. We must now rededicate ourselves to equity for all.
We acknowledge that we are conditioned by the sea of white supremacy in our country. What can we be doing to address the inequity of white privilege and become antiracist individually, in our faith community, and in our local community? How can we draw from our individual and collective spiritual taproots to make space for all to grow so that we can withstand the winds swirling around us right now.
A statement put out by Friends General Conference, a national association of Friends, recently said, "As we work to dismantle systemic racism, how can we replace it with systemic love? Love can be powerful and transformative. It can ground us for action, motivate us to set boundaries with those who are perpetuating harm, and help us call for change when there is pain and suffering occurring. Right now, people we love are being hurt and killed by the scourge of systemic racism and structures of white supremacy. Love in this instance means change.”
We commit ourselves to the work of uncovering, understanding, and dismantling racism in ourselves and in our communities.
from Charlotte Basham, Chena Ridge Friends Meeting, Fairbanks, AK (6/20/2020)