A resolution adopted by the Governing Board of the North Carolina Council of Churches, June 2, 2020.
Whereas the North Carolina Council of Churches was founded in 1935, primarily for the purpose of addressing racial inequity and racial injustice, and
Whereas our white founders soon recognized that racial equity and racial justice should not be discussed without including racially/ethnically diverse voices and so included black faith leaders from North Carolina as members of the Council by 1943, and
Whereas we have striven together in these eight decades to support the Civil Rights Act, support the Voting Rights Act, lament the deaths of untold black neighbors whose names are written on the heart of God and on the hearts of those who loved them, call for justice when the systems of justice failed us, and hold firm to the belief that our diversity makes us stronger, and
Whereas the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer while three other officers watched has exacerbated an already unacceptable devaluing of black and brown lives, and
Whereas racism has been compared to a complex underground rhizome that spreads unseen before erupting into specific social structures (e.g., law enforcement), concentrating attention on this part of the structure while the main tumor continues to strengthen racism in the remainder of the system, and
Whereas we recognize and confess that the racist systems in which we live primarily benefit white people, we therefore place a higher expectation on white people to do the necessary work of dismantling these systems;
The Governing Board of the North Carolina Council of Churches hereby resolves to press ahead with urgency to understand the dynamics of racism in all of its manifestations and to be transformative in society by working across systems and structures where interpersonal, systemic and institutional racism operate, and to work to dismantle the racist systems that perpetuate and allow violence against black and brown bodies.
We will immediately and actively:
- Bear witness to the Gospel that proclaims each of us are beloved of God;
- Educate people, particularly white people, about the underlying structures of systemic racism, especially educational, health care, judicial, economic, religious, and governmental systems;
- Teach the truth that white privilege benefits white people in ways that must be acknowledged by them;
- Empower white people to move beyond passive support to become active allies of black and brown people;
- Denounce the increased militarization of our local police forces and call for accountability such as: ban chokeholds and strangle holds, implement use-of-force continuums, institute de-escalation training, establish diversity and inclusion training, and require comprehensive community reporting;
- Confess that white supremacy infects the very systems that are meant to ensure “liberty and justice for all”;
- Disrupt the current systems by refusing to accept indifference (“It’s not my problem”), claims of innocence (“I’m not a racist”), disavowal of responsibility (“I don’t see color”), minimizing the issue (“All lives matter”), or willful helplessness (“There’s nothing I can do”); and
- Create systems that tangibly make reparations for the damage of over 400 years of slavery and oppression by standing in solidarity with and amplifying the voices of black and brown people who have experienced suffering, pain and violence as a result of the current systems.