A Call to Friends and Allies
A Call to Friends and Allies
by~rch | April 12, 2002
And let not prejudice boil in any of your hearts, but let it be cast out by the power of God, in which is the unity and the everlasting kingdom; that ye may all witness your being made heirs of the same kingdom of peace, and to be inheritors of it, sitting down in the same, knowing your own portion, and increasing in the heavenly riches….Therefore know the seed of life and peace to reign in you all, which possesses the kingdom, where there is no end.
George Fox – 1658 Epistle #CLVIII
Today Friends and allies are called to affirm the above statement and recommit ourselves to take action to end ignorance and discrimination against people of color. We are asked to seek God’s power to root out the racism that still resides in ourselves and our Meetings and welcome the education necessary to recognize these hidden attitudes in ourselves. We are called to seek opportunities to make amends for forgetting to heed Fox’s call, understanding that our failings in this regard need not engender blame or shame. And with God’s help, let us seek to live in that “life and power” (the eternal spiritual unity from which flows infinite strength and all creation) and move forward toward a future of peace.
Some people find it easy to deny a part in the problem of racism. We may tell ourselves that of course prejudice is wrong, and after all, Friends and other white people who were on the forefront of the civil right movement. Yet white privilege has affected the very structure of our minds. We have become addicted to it. Our Light requires that we struggle with the results of these attitudes and be steadfast and still in that truth and purity of God which ultimately brings mercy, power and, contentment.
In 1652 George Fox said …”whatever ye are addicted to, the tempter will come in that thing; and when he can trouble you, then he gets advantage over you, and then you are gone. Stand still in that which is pure, after ye see yourselves; and then mercy comes in. After thou seest thy thoughts and the temptations, do not think but submit; and then power comes. And stand still in the light and submit to it, and the other will be hushed and gone, and then content comes.” Epistle X
Impassioned words alone do nothing to repair the world, no matter how often they are repeated. Our only hope for achieving a racism-free world is to commit ourselves each day to understand and address this issue. It is our responsibility no matter how clear we think we are on this concern. There are many specific ways our Meetings can answer this call. Here are some suggestions:
1. Form discussion groups around books such as Unraveling the White Cocoon by Jeff Hitchcock, and Learning to be White by Tandeka, and in other ways actively develop sensitivity and awareness of white privilege and our own roles in perpetuating racism.
2. Research what communities of color, including indigenous groups, live in your local area and through direct contact, learn about their history, the specific issues they face.
3. Attend events sponsored by people of color such as a Martin Luther King Jr. Day walk or rally
4. Write local and national politicians urging them to unconditionally support issues important to people of color such as reparations and Mumia Abu Jamal
5. Speak out against any violence people of color experience including racial profiling and issues such as using native names for sports mascots
6. Devote a significant part of our peace and social concerns budgets to programs run by and for people of color without regard for whether or not it benefits “our” community
7. Find and patronize businesses owned by people of color
8. Support and respect the input from Quakers, including members of this committee, who are working together to address this issue.
And finally, we can fearlessly seek God’s path which illuminates our dark corners and lights the way to justice, truth and love.