From our Executive Director: Charlottesville, chaos or community?

Photo by Max Herman

Seven months ago hundreds of us filled St. Mark United Methodist Church to honor Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy by publicly denouncing the evil of systems of racial injustice. As we look back at these past seven months, we find ourselves asking over and over the question Dr. King asked in his book, "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?"

Attacks on migrant communities, the continued violence against black lives, the executive orders targeting refugees and the deadly rally of white nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia demonstrate the painful reality of our nation – a reality that often feels like chaos over community. Yet our rage must be transformed into courage and action.

Community Renewal Society condemns the violence and hate displayed in Charlottesville. We mourn the death of a young woman and pray for those who were injured by a neo-Nazi. As Christians, we denounce all acts of violence, discrimination and hate. As a faith-based racial and economic justice organization, we are alarmed and concerned by the increased boldness of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and alt-right groups that promote hate and violence against people of color and other social and religious minorities. Racism, whether shared by hateful words or violent acts, is a sin and a destructive force in society. We call on President Donald Trump and other political leaders to not only clearly and unequivocally condemn all racist and neo-Nazi groups, but also address the policies that perpetuate racist systems. We know that only by calling out and changing these policies will we make our nation an inclusive society, where all persons are accepted as God's children and valued for their positive contributions.

In the words of Rev. William Barber, III, "To say you are against white supremacy without standing up against the policies that embolden white supremacy is hypocrisy."

We call on you to continue to denounce all forms of racial injustice, to join us in work around police accountability, restoring rights for people with records and violence reduction, and to have intentional conversations about white supremacy – both in our churches and outside their doors – with family and with friends. We must stand up against the racist policies that continue to devastate our society and instead build intentional relationships with one another that fuel resistance to racist systems and move us to attain the liberation of all people. This is how we build community over chaos.

Photo by Max Herman, courtesy of The Chicago Reporter

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