Racial Justice

In June 2020, Meeting for Business recorded the following Minute:

America has never repented of its original sin: genocide and slavery. We choose to no longer be complicit in the terror that grips our brothers and sisters in the jaws of racism and sanctioned murder. We cannot both be comfortable and stand for justice. At what we hope will prove to be a tipping point in history, we affirm our choice to stand steadfastly for the right to human dignity.

Our testimonies of equality, non-violence, and community lead us as Red Cedar Friends Meeting to commit to becoming an actively anti-racist faith community.

Living into this goal means we will need to shift our attitudes: we must trust each other to use our differing perspectives toward seeing and erasing racial injustice even when we are still learning or make mistakes. We will not judge each other but will “help each other up with a tender hand,” in the words of Quaker author Isaac Pennington. This will also involve seeking out new ways to act. For now, we begin with these:

    • We will continue to learn and teach more deeply about racial injustice.
    • We will expect Meeting for Business to ask, “How does this action contribute to or limit our intention to become actively anti-racist?”
    • We will ask each of our committees to look at ways of becoming more anti-racist and let the rest of us know what they discover.
    • We will, as a community, seek ways to notice, mark, mourn and speak out against acts of racial violence in the world around us.
    • We will look for partners with whom to cooperate in resisting and dismantling racism.
    • We commit ourselves to stand in solidarity and share resources with victims of injustice.

As we live into becoming the anti-racist Meeting we wish to be, we expect our spiritual depth to increase, our hope and joy to rise and our community to become more faithful.

At a special called Meeting for Business in June 2020, Meeting approved the following Minute on George Floyd’s Murder:

For nearly 400 years, whenever Quakers have listened to God’s still, small voice inside, we hear theTruth that there is “that of God” in everyone. For this reason, we reject violence in any form. But the last weeks’ events went beyond mere violence. Our humanity was called into question as we watched
officers of the law representing our society execute an unarmed citizen begging for his breath. It was
unbearable. At the same time, it was predictable, since it was merely one especially gruesome
demonstration (among daily occurrences) of the White Supremacist culture that is embedded –
consciously and unconsciously – in our culture. In fact, other examples continue to emerge even as we
watch in horror.

We join the grieving and angry protesters and a growing number of organizations, corporations and
faith communities in demanding a national re-thinking of how we structure our public safety and
policing mechanisms so that they include everyone in their care. In particular, we will communicate
with our elected and appointed officials to:

• Call on President Trump to start a truth and reconciliation process, and to disavow the overtly White Supremacist groups that support him.
• Demand Congressional action on The Eric Garner Excessive Force Prevention Act (H.R. 4408),
which makes it illegal for police to use any hold or grip that blocks the throat or windpipe.
• Urge Congressional action on The Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act (H.R. 1714) which
would stop military hardware from flowing into the hands of civilian law enforcement agencies
by ending the 1033 program.
• Call on the Department of Justice to reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division and reinstate policies
dismantled in the Trump administration such as consent decrees to curb police abuses.
• Recommend to state legislators the concept of licensing police, to have a mechanism for
enforcing standards of behavior and ensuring that cops fired from one jurisdiction for
misconduct lose the license that would allow them to be re-hired in another.

Our testimonies compel us to action. These policies will be a good beginning

Friends General Conference posted the following The Outgoing Epistle of the 2020 Virtual Pre-Gathering of Friends of Color and their Families. It begins:

To Friends Everywhere:

We begin by remembering our ancestors who were strong enough to make a way for us. Friends of Color and their families met for Pre-Gathering Retreat on 26 Day through 28 Day Sixth Month 2020. This is the eighth year Friends of Color have met for our Pre-Gathering Retreat. First-timers felt welcomed and validated. This year, we met virtually with our largest attendance yet. There were 47 attendees, ranging in age from 11 months through 77 years from Canada, Mexico, Switzerland and the United States of America.

The importance of this Gathering for Friends of Color worshipping in community together cannot be overstated. To our Friends in the wider Quaker world, we the Friends of Color, can’t breathe. During this weekend, we enjoyed the rare opportunity of not being othered In Quaker space. We experienced the joy of being seen as we are and the affirmation of a supportive spirit among ourselves in the “Amen corner”. The term “Amen corner” comes from the Black church and is a communal space that validates, affirms and uplifts the spirit. In isolation, due to COVID19, we are being kept apart and away from those we love, trust and need. The pre-gathering retreat brought back the source of community and family that has been missing. We were able to exhale, relax, and breathe together. Many of us did not realize how exhausted we were until we were able to relax with one another. The gifts of the spirit were abundant. We shared in worship, gentle yoga and meditation, meaningful discussions, journaling and self-discovery. We also listened and shared in each other’s joys, triumphs, pains and sorrows. We experienced spiritual renewal that was awakened by moving through pain to hope for the future for ourselves and our children. Attention and space was given for people to play games, dance, talk, grieve, play music, watch videos, and write.

Read the full epistle here…