The La Verne Church of the Brethren strongly denounces the ongoing and senseless deaths of African American citizens and persons of color in our country. The deliberate hate crime committed against Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia on February 23, 2020 is the latest example of how racism and hate continue to lead to senseless death of African Americans with little or no accountability by the justice system or our society as a whole. Simultaneously, the death of Breonna Taylor on March 13, 2020 at the hands of Louisville police and the death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers in late May shows the continued disregard by law enforcement and the judicial system in our society when serving and protecting our African-American and minoritized communities. No clearer picture of this exists than the contrasting attitudes of the New York Police Department’s disparate treatment of White persons in a park who earned compassion and civility by receiving face masks, while people of color were being beaten for not social distancing just five miles away by the same department.
The La Verne Church feels that the continued ignorance of these issues is contrary not only to the laws of our land, but to the fundamentals of a Christian faith our leaders profess our country was founded upon. As a member of one of the three historic peace churches, this congregation strongly condemns not only the actions above, but society’s willing acceptance of these acts.
The La Verne Church of the Brethren calls upon the churches of the Brethren denomination to stand with us to jointly condemn these acts and call out racial injustice in their communities. The La Verne Church calls upon our Brethren colleagues to continue to be guided by the 1991 Report of Committee on Brethren and Black Americans (Hayes, et al., 1991) that calls out “racism as a sin – a sin again God and against our neighbors – and mount a concerted effort to combat it” (p.3). The report then sets out 14 recommendations for the Church of the Brethren denomination to address racism and injustice by the Board and Congregations, in particular:
“We recommend that congregations stand in solidarity with black Americans and other victims of racial hate by speaking out against overt expressions of racially motived violence and offering assistance to its victims.” (p.5)
The La Verne Church of the Brethren strongly condemns racially motivated hate crimes and the continued systemic racial injustices in our system that promote these and related acts against our African-American and other marginalized communities.
As a congregation, we are committed to the work of anti-racism and are in this work for the long haul, even when acts of racial injustice are not in the headlines. We are committed to continual education of ourselves and others. We are committed to participate in and stand in solidarity with racial justice coalitions locally and nationally. We are committed to dismantling racism through our actions, words, relationships, and practices.
William A. Hayes, Chair Robert Allen, Jr. Sue Wagner Fields Kreston R. Lipscomb Marian Thornton Duane H. Ramsey (1991) Report of Committee on Brethren and Black Americans. 1991 Annual Conference Report. Church of the Brethren Annual Conference Official Documents. The report from the Annual Conference study committee on BRETHREN AND BLACK AMERICANS was presented by William A. Hayes, chair. The report was adopted with one (1) amendment by the delegate body, which has been incorporated in the Report.