Stay Connected – Pastoral Letter – June 3, 2020

Stay Connected while we are apart

A message from Rev. Jim

Dear Friends and Members of CCEH,

The violence in our beloved country these past eight days is deeply distressing. Watching another Black person being murdered by police; seeing law enforcement responding to peaceful demonstrators with violence; listening to our president encouraging the use of violent force against lawful demonstrations…

Hearing about the rioting, it’s easy to get distracted from the real issue here: the racism that is deeply embedded in our country: in our systems of education, voting, law enforcement and justice. COVID-19 revealed striking racial disparities in healthcare. Now the unjust killing of another Black man has made plain these racial inequalities even more. “Race is a dehumanizing construct, an invention of white people. Its endless terrible consequences have distorted our bodies, souls, and societies.” (Krista Tippett)

ULC Minister Rachel Thomas put it: “Why does it take a shocking incident to bring the issue of racial injustice to the forefront of our collective consciousness…for Americans to confront head-on the racism that people of color in this country are subjected to on a daily basis?”

It’s because of the double standard of White privilege. It allows White people in America to take for granted simple things in daily life that Black people have also done and been harassed or killed for doing. For example, as a White person:

I can go birding in the Park (#ChristianCooper)
‪I can go jogging (#AmaudArbery)
‪I can relax in the comfort of my own home (#BothemSean and #AtatianaJefferson)
‪I can ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride)
‪I can have a cellphone (#StephonClark)
‪I can leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards)
‪I can play loud music (#JordanDavis)
‪I can sell CDs (#AltonSterling)
‪I can sleep (#AiyanaJones)
‪I can walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown)
‪I can play cops and robbers (#TamirRice)
‪I can go to church (#Charleston9)
‪I can walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin)
‪I can hold a hair brush while leaving my own party (#SeanBell)
‪I can party on New Years (#OscarGrant)
‪I can get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland)
‪I can lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile)
‪I can break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones)
‪I can shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)
‪I can have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher)
‪I can read a book in my own car (#KeithScott)
‪I can be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover)
‪I can decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese)
‪I can ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans)
‪I can cash a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood)
‪I can take out my wallet (#AmadouDiallo)
‪I can run (#WalterScott)
‪I can breathe (#EricGarner)
‪I can live (#FreddieGray)
‪I can be arrested without fear of being murdered (#GeorgeFloyd)

Racist behavior is real, and common, and the norm. (Citation: Julia Chevan)

In conclusion, as we reflect on the experience of Black people in America today, I invite us to consider:
• How aware are we about what influences our thoughts and actions?
• How do we want to educate our children regarding race and justice?
• How does our White privilege propagate unfairness for people of color in our institutions of education, healthcare and voting?
• What simple actions can we take today to make real “Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,”?

In Christ-love,
Rev. Jim

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