Faith Witness to End Racism

Once we engage ourselves in the conversation on racism, an inevitable question is “what can we do?” That is a good question - really - it’s the “right” question to ask! As one comes to understand the breadth and depth of systemic racism it is easy to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of changing it; perhaps to feel as though one can’t make a difference.

We often hear about the goal of “equal treatment” which has legal implications in some contexts. It is a great objective, and consistent with a Biblical worldview. But when you consider a disadvantaged group - particularly one which has been disadvantaged for a long time due to circumstances outside their control, there may be a better, fairer objective; “Equity”. This is a common illustration of the difference.
In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. Today handicapped parking, Braille menus, and ramps at churches are commonplace as a result. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was signed. Today segregated lunch counters have been relegated to history, but 400 years of history has been hard to overcome and direct progress toward equity is less clear. Of late we’ve seen that Black-owned businesses have been especially hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic [1] which exacerbated challenges they have faced historically.

So how does one make a difference in tackling systemic disequity?

Matthew 25:34-40 may be of help. Notice that the actions spoken of by Jesus are modest. Building cathedrals or establishing offshore ministries don’t make the list. What is on the list? “I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me”. These things might require a little time or a few dollars. What’s more important is to do something. Start with something small - but start something!

One choice we can make is to be attentive to how we spend our dollars (and time). We can choose to patronize black-owned businesses. Admittedly, in the South Hills they can be a little challenging to find, but here are some resources and ideas that may help:

As a challenge, see if you can find a way to patronize one black-owned business in the month ahead. It is a simple, pragmatic way to work toward more equity.

Bob Dilly

Want to learn more about the racial wealth gap? Watch for information on Bread for the World's Racial Wealth Gap Simulation via Zoom on May 15.
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