CJA Statement on the Burning of Black Churches and Call to Action
As we grieve the horrifying and racist massacre of nine Black
people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, at least 7 Black churches
in North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia have been destroyed or damaged by fires. All are under investigation for arson. The first attack happened at College Hills Seventh Day Adventist Church, in Knoxville, TN just hours after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the state's capitol.
Historically, the Black
church has been not just a spiritual center, but also a center of family, political leadership, culture and community organizing. For this reason they have been targets for racist terrorist attacks for more than a century.
But these are not the only systematic attacks on Black
community institutions and people taking place since slavery. The burnings of churches
, along with the killing of young Black
people by highly-militarized police forces are among the most dramatic and violent acts we see today. But many of the public institutions and the rights that benefit all oppressed people in the United States have been won through social movements led or inspired by the civil rights, Black
Power and anti-slavery movements. They have won policies for civil, worker, environmental justice, economic and human rights. Institutions, programs and spaces serving largely Black
constituencies achieved through generations of struggle are now being systematically dismantled through austerity programs, corporate greed, gentrification, or explicit acts of violence.
Grounded in the principles of environmental and climate justice, the Climate Justice Alliance is putting out a call to our members and allies to take action and be in solidarity with the Black
community in the South and to support the #ThisIsWORR (Week of Righteous Resistance) Call to Action. It begins with Black
Lives Matter Sunday this July 12 and ends on July 18 with counter-rallies to the KKK action at the South Carolina state capitol. More information is at this website: http://thisisworr.org
As an alliance of community-led, frontline organizations we understand that white supremacist violence demonstrated in the brutal massacre of the victims of the AME church in South Carolina, the burning
of Black churches
and the police killings of young Black
people across this country represents a pillar of an unjust, unequal and unsustainable ideology. It is an ideology reflected in the poisoning of the bodies and the environment of our communities - that views us as expendable labor, inconvenient collateral damage in the quest for profits and obstacles to ravaging the abundance of Mother Earth.
Economy means management of home. It is how we organize relationships in place. This “management of home” can be good or bad, depending on how we do it and to what ends. The purpose of our economy could be turning land, life and labor into property for a few, or returning land, life and labor into a balanced web of stable relationships. Through the Our Power Campaign, we are organizing for a Just Transition to local, living economies that celebrate diversity, equity and the rights of all people and nature. This means that confronting racism, sexism and all other forms of oppression must be central to our work.CJA
believes white supremacy lives everywhere in the U.S, not just the south. In this moment of attack, to be in solidarity with the people in the South we must challenge white supremacy wherever we are. We must educate our communities and challenge anti-Black
sentiment in our homes, our workplaces and all our community institutions.
We are following the lead of allies in the South in urging everyone to join in this upcoming week of action. Here is a list of ways your organization can engage. We encourage members to share other ways that we can provide support and solidarity as well:
· Sunday, July 12 - Preach, Pray and Act
- is an emphasis on acts of faith and contributing to a rebuilding fund for churches
that have been burned: https://cccathedralstl.dntly.com/campaign/2571#/
· Monday, July 13
- is a day of marches in solidarity with Moral Mondays
· Tuesday, July 14
and Wednesday, July 15 are teach-in and training days
on history, organizing and other topics.
· Thursday, July 16
there are screenings of the Jordan Davis documentary 3.5 Minutes, 10 Bullets.
· Friday, July 17
there are peace walks
against inter-communal violence
· Saturday, July 17
there are counter-rallies
at state capitols to the KKK rally in South Carolina on the same day.
Active organizations in #ThisIsWORR include PICO's Live Free campaign; One Liturgy; the Samuel DeWitt and Proctor Conference; HandsUp United; Transform Network; Christian Community Development Association (CCDA);Voices Project; Sojourners; FergusonAction; Auburn Theological Seminary and Groundswell; Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ); Evangelicals for Justice (E4J); and the Beatitudes Society.
On behalf of the CJA
Staff and Steering Committee,
Michael Leon Guerrero
Climate Justice Alliance Our Power Campaign