ECF Vestry Papers on Racial Justice and Reconciliation
While the current pandemic has impacted all of us, the negative effects of COVID-19 are significantly more pronounced in communities of color in all aspects of life - health, employment, schooling and food security. Current data reveals that black and Latino populations are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. Millions of our fellow Americans do not have the luxury of working from home or sheltering in place and are trying to navigate this crisis without the basics we often take for granted. Sadly, these are communities for whom life in this country has been consistently hard and unjust. The current situation has simply laid bare the systemic inequities that already existed.
Last week, we woke to a deeply disturbing video of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis. About a month ago, we witnessed the tragic death of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man in Brunswick, Georgia, out on his daily jog, being fatally shot by two white men. These incidents inform us yet again, of the injustices that our black and brown siblings live through every single day - injustices that put their very lives in peril.
Historically, the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) has not actively addressed or engaged with issues of race and I apologize for this glaring omission. It is never too late to begin the hard work of dismantling racism and ECF wants to begin this work now by creating a space to listen, learn and share together on this critical topic. To that end, in July and August, our monthly publication Vestry Papers will showcase authors from around our Church, writing on the themes of racial justice, healing and reconciliation, and building Beloved Community.
We realize that this issue may be challenging for many of us to read and that the questions raised may make some of us feel uncomfortable. I ask you to approach this issue with an open mind and an open heart because there is no more pressing time in our history to lay bare the truth and stand together in our common humanity. I hope and pray that this work will spark conversations, and more importantly mobilize actions, that help bring about understanding, healing and respect, and a future that is bright for all God’s children.
Donald V. Romanik