Nashville, Tennessee: Along with leaders across the church, the General Secretaries of the boards and agencies of The United Methodist Church mark this moment as a time to recommit to urgent action to dismantle racism in the United States and in the church. The recent and callous killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery while the nation is already reeling from the disproportionate death rates of African American and Native Americans from COVID-19 have rightly sparked anger, lament, protest, and calls for action and reflection. We write to express our own anger, pain and determination to make change in our own spheres of influence and to support the church in the urgent and ongoing work to eliminate racism.
As we are part of a global church, we know that there is racial/ethnic tension and oppression in many nations that must be addressed. Because of the current pain and protests in the United States and its particular history of slavery, Jim Crow and systemic racism, we speak into this context and we appreciate the expressions of solidarity from people around the world.
We know that the disease of racism has infected the United States and the church for much longer than the virus of COVID-19 and that people of color who are women, LGBTQ and differently abled experience overlapping oppressive systems. The Social Principles and the Book of Resolutions are full of statements and calls to action to eliminate institutional racism, acknowledge white privilege and confess the racist practices that permeate our society and the church, to end racial profiling and criminalization of communities of color and to invest ourselves to build new systems based in equity so that all persons may flourish. Neither the agencies, nor the church, has moved with determination from adopting these statements to ordering our work to fulfill them.