Remembering The Context Of Racial Oppression & White Privilege

A letter pledging solidarity with the citizens of Ferguson, MO from On Earth Peace, a historically white majority organization committed to nonviolence:

August 2014

With grief, indignation, and hope, On Earth Peace asks our community to pray and act in solidarity with the citizens of Ferguson, MO, and anyone who seeks racial justice for all God’s children.

The death of unarmed African American youth Michael Brown at the hands of white police officer Darren Wilson comes in the context of centuries-old dynamics of racial oppression and white privilege. At root, our society repeatedly expresses a fundamental disrespect for the lives of black people, brown people, and all people of color. This reality is at odds with God’s song to all of us, that we are Beloved and forgiven.

This disrespect is often forgotten by those of us who are white, who do not have to navigate it as a matter of personal and collective survival. This disrespect gives rise to many specific conditions of inequality in our society. These conditions are the necessary long-term focus for any change efforts. Mike Brown’s killing has opened a window in which society is focusing for a time about what has been happening for a very long time.

As a historically majority white organization, On Earth Peace is learning to listen deeply to the stories of our sisters and brothers of color. We seek to build our collective understanding, including listening to how God is leading us to move as an institution.

As followers of Christ, we seek to live out Jesus’ teachings in potent and Spirit-led ways. We believe that Jesus himself points us toward justice, peace, reconciliation, active nonviolence, and liberation, and we trust that the Holy Spirit accompanies and empowers us to live as Jesus lived. Jesus’ presence continues to help us break down walls that divide–if we can accept His help to do so. May we build the Beloved Community wherever we find ourselves, so that the dignity and well being of all God’s children is cherished and celebrated. Please pray constantly with us for God’s reign on earth as it is in heaven.

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