Our hearts and voices collectively cry out for justice in the recent days following the horrific killing of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis. His death comes as violence against African Americans has riveted our attention, most notably with the deaths of Ahmaud Aubery on February 23 and Breonna Taylor on March 13. We mourn with their families and for so many others who have lost loved ones to ongoing abuse and racial injustice. We mourn with our brothers and sisters in our own conference and communities who have also suffered as a result of discrimination or hateful language and who have been marginalized because of their race.
Recognizing that we have all contributed to this systemic culture, we ask forgiveness for when we failed to embody what it means as faith communities who are followers of Jesus to love all people well. We ask forgiveness for those times when we should have spoken but were silent. We ask forgiveness for those times when we should have taken swift action but quickly turned to what we chose as other priorities.
Southeastern California Conference is one of the most diverse bodies of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, and we commit to using our voices, our influence, and our actions toward working together and advocating that all people are treated with respect, love, justice, and mercy. We are currently doing this in peaceful protests, social media posts, individual conversations, and communication within and beyond the network of our community.
In addition to these ways in which we are currently engaging, let us commit to faithfully learning with a humble and teachable spirit. We wish to grow, to be a voice for the voiceless, and to intentionally model what such advocacy looks like, and we resolve to listen carefully to each other and develop actionable plans and pathways.
In our conference, we call on all members to purposefully work hand in hand toward creating family, church, and school communities where discrimination and racism no longer have a place in the fabric of our lives. We choose to not be complicit in violence against any person.
We acknowledge this statement is just a beginning. Southeastern California Conference must take responsibility to do this as a conscious result of our convictions. We believe this is a matter of our ethical values as individually and collectively we will stand in this space of what could be difficult conversations that lead us to our strategic actions.
The One we follow, Jesus, invites us throughout Scripture to love each other. “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:9-10, NIV).
Let it be so with each of us as we seek, “To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with (our) God” (Micah 6:8, NIV).