Our hearts are broken as the fault lines of racism continue to be starkly exposed in the violence that ended the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and uncounted numbers of African Americans, not only in recent years but since Africans were first brought to this country as enslaved people.
We continue to live with this poisonous legacy which manifests itself in white supremacy, institutional racism, and oppression. Over generations, white supremacy has shaped our public policies, causing injustice in our institutions and racial bias that in its mildest forms taints daily life for people with brown and black skin. As we were reminded this month, white supremacy continues to kill African Americans in cold blood almost with impunity. We understand that the occupation of our urban communities and militarized policing is one part of protecting “whiteness” in our society.
We know that those of us who are white must confront racism in ourselves and in the institutions we care about.
We reject the president’s call for an occupation by the U.S. military of the streets of our communities to suppress legitimate protests guaranteed by the U.S. constitution. Law and order have for too long been used as a cover for racist oppression and slavery. This needs to stop.
But we cannot address the racism and white privilege in our society without addressing the systems of oppression—in policing, in healthcare, in the justice system or in access to quality education. The fault lines of whiteness that make true equality in our society a lie run deep and touch every one of us.
We have seen the fault lines in the disproportionate deaths from COVID-19 in the African American community. We have seen the fault lines in the destructiveness of police brutality of our African American siblings. Until everyone in this country, particularly white people, dedicate themselves to radically address racial inequality, we will remain a broken society.
As we stand with protesters throughout the country calling for radical social transformation, we affirm that Black Lives Matter. We know that those of us who are white must confront racism in ourselves and in the institutions we care about—our faith communities, our schools, our neighborhoods, our families, our Congress.
We stubbornly remain hopeful that we can change policies that perpetuate racist structures and build a society with equity and justice for all.