Tell Congress to Create the Reparations Commission for Black Americans
The poison which resides in the soul of America is being exposed in this moment of proclamation that Black Lives Matter. It is in this moment that U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has embraced Rev. Martin Luther King's “Why We Can't Wait” as the framing for the passage of HR-40. HR-40 demands remedies and reparations for the centuries of injustice and trauma suffered by African Americans in the United States. The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference and faith partners affirm the historic and continuing commitment and role the faith community plays in the advancement of reparatory justice and reparations for people of African descent. In 1894, Ms. Callie House and Rev. Isaiah H. Dickerson, along with four other pastors, launched the reparations movement, incorporating the National Ex-Slave and Mutual Relief Bounty and Pension Association. And with each generation thereafter, efforts have persisted to advance the call and cause to amend for the wrongs, repair the damage, and reckon with the past to right the future. People of faith are uniquely called and positioned to stay the course. Voices of the Black church, and recently, over the past twenty years from spaces within the white church, have pierced the silence around the complicity and role of the Church in the Transatlantic Slave Trade system, it's sacred rhetoric, academic institutions and their enduring consequences. The time for reparations is well overdue. In his 1964 watershed book, Why We Can't Wait, Martin Luther King declared: “While no amount of gold could provide adequate compensation for the exploitation of the Negro American down through the centuries, a price could be placed on unpaid wages.” The late Black theologian ministry leaders like James Hal Cone, Katie Cannon, Gayraud Wilmore, Robina Winbush, James Foreman and Theressa Hoover, to name a few, made the case and call to the Church. Denominations, including the United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Episcopalians and Presbyterians have even offered resolutions of confession, apologies for slavery and /or calls for dealing with reparations. Further, The 2004 Accra Confession attests that the issue of justice and reparations in the United States is also wedded to issues of reparations, debt relief and justice in Africa. In this evidentiary moment of racialized police violence, consequences of a global pandemic and political arguments for authoritarianism over democratic principles, America cannot wait and the world awaits. We, the undersigned faith leaders and organizations, declare that the moral compass and agency of religious institutions and leaders must be on the right side of the sacred texts and history. The silence of faith communities, old and new, must be pierced to unleash a new way forward toward reparatory justice and reparations. The evil causes and consequences of the enslavement of people of African descent, the truths about the original sins upon which the nation was founded must be acknowledged and addressed. Reparations requires truth-telling and a historical reckoning, justice not charitable giving, confession and atonement, commitment to non-repeat and restitution in a myriad of ways. The fact that the New York Stock Exchange sits upon a burial ground of enslaved Africans is quite telling and symbolic, but it must be understood that reparations can never be reduced to a heartless apology and a financial transaction. As an issue of justice, reparations is a journey of healing. We join the efforts of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, the National African American Reparations Commission and the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America to advance the cause for reparations and bring the light and works of true healing and justice to this nation. We support HR-40, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and the Congressional Black Caucus as they continue the forward movement of the national legislation. “We Can't Wait” because we have waited long enough. For this nation and all who are heirs to its legacy, “This is the Overdue Season!” Rev. Dr. Iva E. Carruthers General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc. Chicago, IL Bishop Leah D. Daughtry Co-chair, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc. National Presiding Prelate, House of Lord Churches Washington DC Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III Co-chair, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc. Senior Pastor, Friendship West Baptist Church Dallas, TX Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II President, Repairers of the Breach Goldsboro, NC Rev. Traci Blackmon Associate General Minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries United Church of Christ Cleveland, OH David Crawford President, McCormick Theological Seminary Chicago, IL Rev. Ronnie Galvin Vice President for Racial Equity and the Democratic Economy Democracy Collaborative Washington, DC Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors Senior Pastor, Second Baptist Church Evanston, IL Bishop Frank Madison Reid III Ecumenical Officer, A.M.E. Church Presiding Prelate, Third Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church Baltimore, MD Rev. Dr. Robert Turner Pastor, Vernon Chapel A.M.E. Church Tulsa, OK Dr. Jim Winkler President and General Secretary, National Council of Churches USA Washington, DC Learn more by visiting http://sdpconference.info
Catholic Women Religious Superiors Should Vote at The Synod
The XV Ordinary Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment brings together bishops, auditors and experts from around the world to collaborate and discuss the urgent needs of the Church for three weeks in Rome (October 3 – 28, 2018). Voting on the final documents at these meetings was reserved for ordained men until 2015, when one religious brother (a non-ordained man) was given permission to vote. This year, that number has doubled. Two non-ordained male religious superiors have permission to vote on the documents that, if approved by Pope Francis, could become ordinary magisterial teaching. This is an encouraging opening. Representation from non-clerics adds diversity to one of the institution’s primary decision making bodies and helps the Church move closer to the essence of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Communio which aims to more directly involve the People of God. While we welcome voting for non-ordained male religious, it does not go far enough. If male religious superiors who are not ordained can vote, then women religious superiors who are also not ordained should vote. With no ontological/doctrinal barrier, the only barrier is the biological sex of the religious superior. In St. John Paul II’s Letter to Women (1995), he made clear the “urgent need to achieve real equality in every area…” He also stated, “This is a matter of justice but also of necessity. Women will increasingly play a part in the solution of the serious problems of the future…” We believe this is especially true of Synods. Women are part of the solution to the serious problems facing the Church. Thus we urge all of you bishops, cardinals and other ordained and non-ordained members who have the authority to vote in this Synod to make a path for women religious superiors to work and vote as equals alongside you as sisters and brothers in Christ. Leaders in serving the world’s most marginalized communities, women religious largely outnumber male religious and could bring underrepresented experiences of accompaniment, leadership, and pastoral care to the Synod. In 2016, there were 659,445 religious sisters worldwide and 52,625 religious brothers (CARA). As Pope Francis calls for “a more incisive female presence” in the Church while calling the Synod “a suitable instrument to give voice to the entire People of God…“ (EC 25), we urge you to bring women into meaningful decision-making in every body of the Church, including the Synod. Since the beginning of the Synod on youth, women from many backgrounds and countries have spoken up in support of voting rights of religious sisters at the Synod. We may have differing opinions on many of issues but one thing unites us: We believe that our Church can overcome the current crisis only if women have a voice and a vote. Partners in the Initiative: Catholic Women Speak CORPUS Donne per la Chiesa FutureChurch New Ways Ministry Quixote Center RAPPORT Voices of Faith We Are Church International Women's Ordination Conference Women's Ordination Worldwide
Send Love & Solidarity to the Muslim Families of New Zealand: Pledge to Fight White Nationalism
On Friday afternoon, March 15th, a white supremacist opened fire in multiple mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. At least 50 people were killed and more than 20 seriously wounded in an act of "extremist rightwing violent terrorism." As people of many faiths and beliefs – Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, Humanist, and others – our hands tremble with the horror at this bloodshed in a sacred space. This massacre was fueled by the same white nationalist hate that led to mass shootings against other communities of color in their houses of worship -- Sikhs in the gurdwara of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Black Americans in Mother Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina, and Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We move swiftly to show the Muslim community of New Zealand worldwide solidarity. Prayers mean nothing without action. This act of mass violence was the result of white nationalist ideologies that we all have the power to eradicate. In signing, we express our shared grief and moral outrage, and we pledge to call out hate in all its forms -- in our schools, workplaces, houses of worship, and homes. We recognize that white nationalism is a global epidemic. We pledge to take action to dismantle white supremacy in our institutions and cultures. And when we grow tired, we will remember the faces of those who have been killed and take one another's hands and continue our labors for love and justice in their name.