As followers of Jesus and as leaders in the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference, we lament that systemic racism, white privilege and prejudice continue to harm Black people in our country. We grieve the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd - and many others, named and unnamed, who have been victims of violence fed by racial injustice.
Many leaders have called in recent days for movement beyond words, including Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi in her Statement on Racism and the Cycle of Violence and the WPA Conference Anti-Racism Team in an article to be published in the Summer 2020 edition of the In Focus. The time is now to answer this call, move past words, and ACT.
Our faith compels us to act TOGETHER as faithful people of ALL RACES. Yet, many of us do not know where to start or how to learn new anti-racism skills on our own. Thus, we are pledging to learn and to act side by side to practice skills that disrupt white privilege, racial injustice, and systemic racism in our hearts, our churches, and our communities.
We invite you to take action by signing our pledge and committing yourself for one year to complete monthly education and action tasks focused on dismantling racism.
Beginning in August, you will receive a monthly email with two anti-racism challenges focused on education and action (and a “stretch goal” for those who wish to go further in their work). Learning a new skill can be difficult and sometimes frightening. It is normal to feel awkward and uncomfortable at first. The “Now, Act Pledge” tasks may bring us out of our comfort zones, but will not be beyond our reach when we do them together. (See sample)
The EDUCATIONAL PIECES (in the forms of articles, movies, videos, podcasts, etc.) will challenge us and are meant to provoke reflection and introspection.
The ACTION TASKS may ask you, for example, to watch a movie or television show by a Black creator; research local history or policy; write letters to legislators; seek conversation partners in your church or town; attend a town hall or other gathering to listen and learn; donate to anti-racist organizations; or seek out and patronize Black-owned businesses.
You’ve decided that the time is now to take action and you want to be part of this anti-racism pledge. What’s next?
We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts and communities. We pledge to join the Spirit in that work through action. This initiative was created by Program Staff and is supported by Cabinet, the Anti-Racism Team, and members of Conference Staff. Read the list of signatures here. Won’t you join us?