“What I try to tell young people is that if you come together with a mission, and it’s grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible possible.” Congressman & Civil Rights Leader – Rep. John Lewis
‘We need to stand together so we can be one.’
Tell them Ruth and Rep. Lewis sent you.
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Friends across the country are speaking out against racism and police violence. Here, we excerpt some of the minutes and statements that they have shared with us.
A minute from a Quaker meeting or church represents the wording of a decision or agreed-upon action to be taken by the community. Minutes are also powerful advocacy tools to let members of Congress know how their constituents are thinking about and acting on an issue.
As FCNL works for a society free of racism, we affirm the statements collected here from across the breadth of the Religious Society of Friends:
For This Time
Western Yearly Meeting, June 2, 2020
“For God ‘hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth’ (Acts 17:26). Friends believe that any racial discrimination is essentially a violation of God’s law of love, whether by legal enactment or by inequitable practices that interfere with democratic liberties or cultural or economic development.”
A Time for Repentance and Transformation
New England Yearly Meeting, June 5, 2020
“As Friends serving in leadership on behalf of Quaker communities across New England, we join with people around the world to grieve, and to commit to action in opposition to the evils of racism and white supremacy that are again laid bare in our country … We speak to reclaim the symbols of faith from their use to justify the sins of empire. We speak to publicly recommit ourselves to Truth. Black Lives Matter.”
Minute on Responding to the Police Violence Against People of Color
Friends Meeting of Austin, June 7, 2020
“Friends Meeting of Austin … stands with those protesting the continuing police violence against people of color here in Austin and around our country and we affirm that Black Lives Matter … As Quakers, people of faith with a deep commitment to equality, justice, and peace, we commit to continuing our anti-racist work grounded in Spirit through study, prayer, and action, both locally and nationally.”
Statement on Racial Injustice
Evangelical Friends Church International-North America, June 8, 2020
“The global pandemic and widespread economic stress … serve to add weight and a growing awareness to the attitudes and systems of racial injustice and violence that persist in our country. We recognize this as blatant opposition to God’s design and vision for the world … We also recognize our need to redeem individual attitudes, processes, systems, and institutions that perpetuate injustice on the basis of race or ethnic identity.”
Minutes for Black Lives
Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends, June 13, 2020
“Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends witnesses the current people’s uprising for police accountability and for racial justice, and we take a stand for Black lives. We urge all Quakers, in our yearly meeting and beyond, to do the same in word and action. Neutrality is not an option if we are to fully embrace our underlying Truth as Friends: to recognize God in all people.”
A Message Regarding State Sanctioned Violence
Fellowship of Friends of African Descent, June 17, 2020
“Given the continued murder of Black men and women at the hands of police and vigilantes, we feel the Spirit’s urging to return to our minute … that make[s] recommendations for policing … We believe that Friends have much to contribute to the present public discourse on policing and reimagining a system of peacekeeping based on our testimonies of equality and community.”
[Photo: Regina H. Boone]
It has taken the massacre of so many black bodies to get us to this moment.
Thank you, Kimberly, for educating.
This! ?? IG: kimberlylatricejones & djonesmedia pic.twitter.com/l8zX4CULEg
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) June 6, 2020
White Body Supremacy
“…the term “white body supremacy” — I’m operationalizing it. The white body is used to hearing things that make it comfortable. And so when you say something like ‘white supremacy’ especially here in Minnesota, everybody goes, “Yes, absolutely. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.’ And then what happens is, it goes — just the term, “white supremacy,” is a very intellectual term. It doesn’t land in the body.
-Resmaa Menakem, therapist and trauma specialist in Minneapolis who teaches across the U.S.
Hunger Coalition in Blaine County, Idaho:
‘Speaking out against systemic racism with people across the nation and across the political spectrum aligns with our values, but we must also act on our words. To that end, The Hunger Coalition supports peaceful nonviolent protest and advocacy as a way to:
- Stand up for fundamental American principles of fairness and justice.
- Affect change at the system level.
- Raise awareness around issues that affect the people we serve.
- Honor our values of equity and inclusiveness.
- Speak out against discrimination suffered by people of color, including police brutality.
- Ensure The Hunger Coalition is seen as a safe place for all people to access food, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, citizenship, disability, or religion.
Please consider joining us in the following actions:
Educate: read, read, and read more about how racial injustice is rampant in every corner of our country. Share what you learn with others.
Demonstrate: peaceful protest is fundamental to our democracy and how we can shine a light on discrimination.
Donate: make a donation to organizations working to heal our nation and bring us all together.
Organize: join forces with people on a shared mission. Petition, canvass, campaign, and put pressure on our leadership to enact change.
Vote: vote for candidates at the local, state, and national level who support policies that make life better for people of color. There is an election on November 3, 2020. Research the candidates and vote.’
-Jeanne Liston, Executive Director at the Hunger Coalition
[Image: Deborah Knapp]
Krista Tippet, On Being:
‘…horrific trauma inflicted on black bodies in the “new world” of America — which, as Langston Hughes wrote, “never was America to me.” We are all literally carrying – breathing, reliving, and so repeating — much that didn’t happen to us personally. It’s one way to finally grasp why talking about race, and “teaching our brains to think better” about race, has fallen brutally, tragically short: “The vital force behind white supremacy,” Resmaa Menakem writes in his extraordinary book My Grandmother’s Hands, “is in our nervous systems.”
Resmaa Menakem is a teacher and visionary in this city (Minneapolis), though I only became aware of his groundbreaking work a few months ago. Just before the pandemic sent us into lockdown, I sat across from him in our studio on Loring Park. He watched me as closely as he listened to my words. He caught me bracing at the term “white supremacy,” and taught me that noticing such bracing is exactly where I have to begin to live differently. He’s drawing on knowledge we’re just now gaining about systems and processes in our bodies that we’re only now learning to see: vagus nerve, psoas muscle, trauma, epigenetics. He makes a stunning connection between generations of trauma that white bodies inflicted on each other in the centuries we call the Dark Ages and the generations of horrific trauma inflicted on black bodies in the “new world” of America.
At the On Being Project right now we are listening, and listening again, to Resmaa as well as others who’ve been teaching us in recent years and to whom we will turn for new wisdom in this time. We’re trying to carry our questions with as much humility as we carry what feel like insights and answers.’
[Photo: Courtney Martin, Oakland, CA]
“We stand there with those whose dignity has been denied. We locate ourselves with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless. At the edges, we join the easily despised and the readily left out. We stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop. We situate ourselves right next to the disposable so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away. The prophet Habakkuk writes, “The vision still has its time, presses onto fulfillment and it will not disappoint . . . and if it delays, wait for it [2:3].”
-Fr Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation