“This is an emergency. I’m not talking about the coronavirus. I’m talking about racism. As all the universities in the world scramble to try to find a cure for the coronavirus – that same level of concern and action is needed to rid our society of the virus that is racism. I am calling for a declaration of a state of emergency for Black people. Racism is a public health crisis.”
–Andrea Jenkins, city council member in Minneapolis, 2020
“I will not tire of declaring that if we really want an effective end to violence we must remove the violence that lies at the root of all violence: structural violence, social injustice, exclusion of citizens from the management of the country, repression. All this is what constitutes the primal cause, from which the rest flows naturally.”
— Saint Oscar Romero, Salvadoran martyr and saint, 1979
In the wake of the George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis and the widespread calls for systemic change in the U.S., Sister Parish joins the call that Black Lives Matter and supports the efforts led by Black people, Indigenous people and all People of Color to end systems of racism and inequality in the U.S. We recognize that the calls are not new and did not start with George Floyd’s death but started with the unjust systems deeply rooted in our country, systems now exacerbated by the pandemic. We call for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Rayshad Brooks, Elijah McClain, Philando Castile, Jamar Clark, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and too many others killed by systemic and structural violence. We acknowledge the deep pain and grief that communities throughout the U.S. are feeling right now.
We believe that all people deserve to live with dignity and basic human rights. We also believe that true solidarity means recognizing and actively working to challenge and change unjust systems in partnership with the most impacted people. The systems of racism and inequality are an integral part of U.S. history and the current reality, but they are also global systems, spread through colonialism and imperialism. Calls for justice in Guatemala, in El Salvador, in the U.S., and throughout the world are intertwined.
As the Sister Parish community, what can we do? We can listen, educate ourselves, and take action individually and collectively. We can build new long-lasting relationships to promote racial justice and transform systems that oppress people. Our sistering relationships have always underlined the importance of listening, learning, and making commitments to change ourselves and our communities. We believe that this work and each person’s journey exist on a continuum. We are works in progress – always – and there are no simple solutions to such deeply rooted, painful injustices. But we need to keep taking steps to uproot racism and anti-blackness in our communities and in our own hearts. We invite our Sister Parish communities to join us in conversations, wherever people are on this journey.
What does our vision for our better world look like? What do we need to do to move our world toward one of compassion, justice, and equality in the midst of such deep crises? In the words of Sister Parish member Miriam Vásquez, “This is hard, but we are called as Christians…to listen to the cries for help and take action. We want people alive and active in these times of violence and the pandemic.”
Thank you for being part of our Sister Parish family. May we challenge ourselves to take more and bigger steps to dismantle racism as part of our long walk in solidarity with each other.
Sister Parish staff and board
A few resources
The following resources are only a small portion of what is available. If you are interested in sharing your local resources and actions, please let us know and we can add them.
- Learning more about institutional racism – Resource List from PBS
- Educational Resources – Teaching for Change Resource List
- Why Ta-Nehisi Coates is hopeful – Interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Why this started in Minneapolis – Minneapolis and Minnesota history
- Give the police departments to the grandmothers – Poem by Junauda Petrus
- Ways to support the movement and recovery in the Twin Cities – Resource list
- ISAIAH – Coalition to build a just and abundant Minnesota through faith in action
- For Black and Indigenous people in Central America, Black Lives Matter – Article linking movements in U.S. and Central America
Denominational racial justice resources
- ELCA Racial Justice Ministries
- UCC on Racial Justice
- UMC – Dismantling Racism Town Hall
- USCCB – Combatting Racism
- Episcopal Church – Anti-Racism Resources
News, training and materials from organizations that work for racial justice
- El movimiento Las Vidas Negras Importan en Las Americas – Video con varias presentadoras
- ¿Qué tanto importa la vida de los negros en America Latina? – Artículo sobre las experiencias de la población afrodescendiente en America Latina
- Entrevista con la historiadora Annette Gordon-Reed – Entrevista sobre la historia de los EEUU
- Expertos explican que protestas en EEUU son el resultado de “siglos de abusos” – Artículo