Yesterday 15 of us from the Northern California Nevada Conference were in Washington DC for the Rally to End Racism held on the National Mall in Washington D.C. The event, sponsored by the National Council of Churches, began with a silent walk from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial to the National Mall to remember Dr. King’s life and his assassination fifty years ago that very day.
The afternoon was filled with speakers and music and information booths from many of the faith groups in attendance. Leaders from each of these faith communities spoke about King’s legacy and the work that is before us. A.C.T. stands for: Awaken, Confront, Transform. The theme of the day was that it is time to finish the work that Dr. King began—the work to end racism once and for all.
Dr. Frederick Haynes, Chair of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, offered two examples that really resonated with me. One was from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright who said racism in America is like a cake in which the sugar was forgotten and the cake was baked. You cannot just keep pouring sugar on it and hope to make the cake right. Instead, you need to start all over. Dr. Haynes said it’s time to re-bake the cake because the time of pouring sugar over it and hoping to solve the problem is over.
The second example is that of a washing machine. A washing machine has an agitator in it because when a stain is ingrained in the fabric, it needs to be agitated out. We must engage in agitation if we want to remove the stain of racism from the fabric of our lives and of our country.
After the Rally some of us from the UCC gathered at First Congregational Church just down the street from the National Mall to debrief and to talk about the work that is before us. We need to be agitators and bakers if we want to be part of a transforming change when it comes to ending racism. The call to awaken, confront and transform is a call to finish the work that Dr. King began and to not rest until it is completed.
The most recent death of an unarmed black man in Sacramento is an invitation for us to stand with our brothers and sisters in our churches in Sacramento as they join with others in the community to seek justice for Stephon Clark, a 22 year old father who was gunned down in his grandmother’s backyard.
First Congregational Church Oakland click here and Silicon Valley Progressive Faith Community click here have both committed to working with Stand Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and the “Community Safety for All campaign.”
Our Conference will soon be announcing more Racial Justice Trainings that will engage participants in exploring the realms of racism, create a common language around racism and unmask racism in our lives.
These are just a few of the ways that we can bake a new cake and get our washing machines working. Yesterday was a powerful day and it was a call to wake up and get to work. I hope you will join me.
To see more from yesterday’s event visit rally2endracism.org
You can view pictures from our album at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmfvUxF6. We will add more pictures as we receive them from our participants.