Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Call To Action On Ending Gun Violence And Racism

They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. "Peace, peace," they say, when there is no peace.
Jeremiah 8:11 (NIV)

By Calista Malone, Summer Fellow, Presbyterian (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness '16

We are hurting as a nation. It is impossible to read or watch the news without seeing the overwhelming amount of pain our country is experiencing because of the ever-increasing violence in our streets.  This month, police killed two African American men by the names of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. In Dallas, five police officers were killed and seven others wounded when a sniper open-fired during a peaceful protest against police violence. We are surrounded by the reality of racism and violence in our country. It is high time we, as a church, address the issues and take action.

In a recent statement, the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Rev. Dr. J Herbert Nelson, lifted up recent General Assembly actions on racism and gun violence and called on the church to act.  These assembly actions have no meaning unless we as people of faith act to eradicate racism in our nation. Our efforts must begin in our own communities and require courage. Racism is a cancer that has historically pervaded our society. It blatantly disrupts the flow of building Jesus’ call for the Beloved Community.”  

We must follow God into the public square by acknowledging the problem, writing to government officials, advocating for change, signing petitions for change, and calling on others to do the same.

We are called to practice advocacy as Jesus did. Walter Wink, author of Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way, says “Jesus abhors both passivity and violence as responses to evil.” We must remain strong in our faith and act with Jesus guiding our actions. In order for us to be effective, we must move past only lamenting.  We must grow stronger and braver in our actions.

With two more African Americans dead and the highest number of police killed since 9/11, the time is now to take action. We must educate ourselves on the issues, call on Congress to take action, mobilize our communities, and, above all, we must love and support each other because we are all God’s children.

Here are a  few ways to get involved: 

Click here for a Tool Kit on advocating against gun violence.

Click here for a letter from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and our ecumenical partners on gun violence issues to Congress.

Click here for a tool kit for promoting justice in policing.

Click here for information on the Church and it’s role in racial injustice.