By Conference Minister Diane Weible
A few weeks ago, I introduced the Abolition Calendar Initiative that Conference members have been working on getting off the ground. This initiative is a way to provide continuous opportunities for education and action focusing on specific areas of racial justice.
The abolitionist movement of the 1800s was an effort to end slavery. As we have spoken of many times, especially in the last few months, slavery did not end in the 19th century but has evolved. People of color continue to be oppressed by systems and policies meant to uphold power for some people deemed, for some reason, “better than” others.
As people of faith, we know that God did not create us to be better than or less than. God created us as beautiful and sacred human beings—all deserving of being treated as equals. We can think and hope and pray all we want that we are all treated as equal human beings, but we are not. For those, like me, who are white, the blinders have begun to fall off and we are seeing the reality which was never meant to be seen. We are seeing the systems that oppress; the policies which kill, and the permissions that oppress marginalized populations in our country.
As people of faith we are calling on God to lead us. We are reaching out to our neighbors and our friends to walk with us as we do our part to put an end to slavery in all its forms; in all its evolutions.
It will take education. It will take action. It will take a willingness to lean in to the discomfort. It will take courage, strength and commitment.
The Abolition Calendar Initiative is one way for us to commit to a Conference-wide movement. It will focus on various systems that perpetuate slavery and seek ways to dismantle oppressive systems and replace them with systems that work; systems that support all communities.
The first focus is Abolition and Policing: Community Safety and Care. Over the next few weeks, you will be introduced to video testimonials and resources which will help you prepare for some of the events and actions that will kick-off in October.
I invite you to approach this work with prayer and with an open heart. No matter where we are in this journey, we each have something to learn and we each have something to contribute. The more we work together, the more opportunity we have to transform the systems that treat some lives as if they don’t matter.