Repentance and Action in the Wake of Charlottesville

As thousands of clergy and other religious leaders gathered in cities across the United States yesterday to stand against white supremacy, many PPF Activist Council members were among them. We were there because we know that white supremacy is violence. We were there because since our creation over 70 years ago, we have opposed all war, and white supremacy has been waging war on Black people in the United States and globally, as clearly outlined in the Movement for Black Lives Platform.

We were there as an act of resistance and, for those of us in PPF who are white, we show up as an act of repentance. We repent for the sins of white supremacy from which we have benefitted and which we commit daily, knowingly and unknowingly. We were there, because we know that “Beloved Community isn’t born of white hand-wringing but white hands going to work for revolutionary racial justice change,” to quote Chris Crass, a white activist in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

Showing up at rallies and marches is one way that we go to work for revolutionary racial justice change. But we know that this is not enough, because we know that the overt white supremacy that marched through the streets of Charlottesville is only the tip of the iceberg. The part of the iceberg that lies beneath the water is just as deadly as the part that is above the water. We must also work to chip away at the white supremacy that lies beneath the water.

That is why, at our upcoming Activist Council meeting September 28-30, we have devoted the first day to doing a training on institutional racism with Crossroads Antiracism. We have worked with Crossroads in the past, and we’re ready to go deeper, looking at the ways that white supremacy is manifested in our own organization and the issues we work on.

This training is part of our response to Charlottesville. Even more than a statement of solidarity or marching in the streets, we commit to dig deeper into our commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization by examining the ways that PPF continues to benefit from and participate in white supremacy.

I hope you’ll join us, because we need you and we need each other for this work. Join us in Stony Point, New York September 28-30 for the Activist Council Gathering. Join us in the ongoing work by being part of the Activist Council. Join us in committing our resources to this work.

(First image by Activist Council member Ruth Hamilton in Washington, D.C. August 28, 2017; Second image by National Capitol Presbytery on August 28, 2017)