Monday 8 June 2020

A Statement Against Anti-Black Racism

From the Institute for Christian Studies -

The human condition as it has been given to us by our Creator includes the wonderful diversity of all people on earth. Whenever we treat entire groups of people as though they are superfluous, or as if their lives do not matter, we sin both against our own humanity and the God we are called to image. We sin, too, when we remain silent and inert in the face of such injustice and oppression.

Silence is deadly, and indifference is brutal. This is one of the lessons being taught by the outrage and collective grief currently rocking the United States and Canada in response to the longstanding reality of police violence and societal oppression against Black lives and bodies, and precipitated most recently by the brutal murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, among far too many others. It has taken multinational protests to bring these wrongs into the light of day—and that heaps tragedy upon tragedy.

We at ICS confess that we have not done all within our power to face these realities, and address and denounce these wrongs. Privileged not to “have to” say anything, we confess that we have not used that same privilege to amplify the cries of our Black sisters and brothers as they are subjected to targeted violence, suspicion, inequality, and oppression.

But we do so now. ICS stands not only with Black communities, but also all others who have suffered the unjust material effects of white supremacist ideology, including our Indigenous sisters and brothers here in Canada. We add our voice to theirs: we must repent of these injustices, and these injustices must cease.

With this call to speak, we recognize too that we must now do the work of listening. We, individually, as well as institutionally and societally, must learn to listen to the voices and experiences of people who are not white and who do not receive the benefits of being white. We therefore pray that we might hear these current cries in the streets as the cry of and for wisdom, begging to be heard. And we pray that these cries might shape our everyday lives and direct our actions in the world, so we can join in our Creator’s redemptive effort to turn this mourning into dancing.

Our mission as a school is founded on the conviction that the gospel's message of renewal shapes our pursuit of wisdom. So in this time of anger, despair, and grief, and in light of the need for both immediate and abiding action facing our communities and our world, we hold to this promise of renewal set forth in the life of Jesus Christ, who showed us how to love one another and to respect all our sisters and brothers. Conditions can change. Wrongs can be made right. And so we pray that justice and healing may come, and that we might join cooperatively in the long work of societal and personal transformation ahead of us in humility, in earnest, and in hope.