(Adopted at the Coordinating Team meeting in New Orleans on March 13, 2010)
The Church Within A Church Movement is committed to inclusion and community, considering any attempts at oppression to be inconsistent with the basic tenets of our organization and our mutual spiritual journey. It is in this spirit that we acknowledge and address the deep and lasting damage that is caused by racism in our society. Through our study and experience, we acknowledge the following:
- Racism is an artificial system rooted in a belief of the superiority of whiteness and bestows benefits, unearned rights, rewards, opportunities, advantages, access, and privilege in the United States on Europeans and European descendants;
- Reactions of people of color to racism are internalized through destructive patterns of feelings and behaviors impacting their physical, emotional, and mental health and their spiritual and familial relationships;
- Because of institutionalized racism, laws, customs, traditions, and practices have been put into place in every institution in this country, systematically fostering inequalities and enforcing white privilege; and
- Racism ultimately enslaves everyone in its path, including both white people and people of color, clouding everyone’s perceptions and making the journey to anti-racist multiculturalism especially difficult to navigate.
In order to continue to address the evil of racism that permeates our society and our institutions and in acknowledgement of our active and passive complicity in perpetuating the traditions that keep institutional racism in force, we the Coordinating Team and those in attendance, of the Church Within A Church Movement hereby formally and publicly declare our intention to become an anti-racist organization.
We are aware that this is merely the beginning of a journey of commitment to a specific part of our general vision, made possible because of the exposure and responses that we as an organization have experienced on the path toward justice. We celebrate the fact that we have been able to arrive at this point and acknowledge that, although we may not yet have a full awareness of the nature of this commitment, and may not have all the necessary definitions to yet make our goal a practical reality, we are committed to the necessary institutional analysis and restructuring to bring these tenets forward. Accordingly, we collectively commit to the following actions:
- We will embark on a program of study, understanding and analysis that will enable us to develop common definitions and observations regarding racism and strategies for countering and changing any policies or traditions that would perpetuate racism;
- We will develop accountable relationships individually, among the members of Church Within A Church, and communally with other communities, that will speak truth and compassion to one another, in order to be able to evaluate our progress and fidelity to our goal; and
- We will become witnesses, both internally and as a public presence, of our commitment and our goals, acknowledging both our successes and our failures along our journey.
We are ultimately aware that this will not be a quick fix, and that the process that we are outlining is one that may take decades to show significant progress, since we are working with deeply ingrained sets of individual and institutional habits. However, we realize that this process, as part of our commitment to inclusion, is necessary for our very survival. We humbly ask the grace of God to help us in our commitment and our journey.