The La Verne Church of the Brethren denounces the actions taken by several jurisdictions to disenfranchise voters in the United States. The deliberate actions taken by some federal, state, and local governments to remove the votes of citizens in the national general election on November 3, 2020 have disproportionally disenfranchised citizens who are Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color, and are an example of systemic racism in our country.
The La Verne Church asks that the United States Congress passes legislation, such as the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 (HR4), which updates and revitalizes the 1968 Voting Rights Act.
In making this statement, the La Verne Church is guided by the Denominational 1991 Report of Committee on Brethren and Black Americans (Hayes, et al., 1991) that calls out “racism as a sin – a sin against 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)
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.