A Statement From the JPF Board
As we watched repeated instances of black and brown bodies being heartlessly and brutally murdered, our hearts bled achingly with a sense of gloom that we had not felt for decades. We care. How could we not care? If we do not care for each other unconditionally, our quest for a fulfilled life is nullified. We will end racism only as we create strong and cohesive diverse communities that foster dignity, encourage respect, safeguard livelihoods, and erect home as the place for resurrected families.
To have peaceful communities, we must create shared futures and cultivate trustworthiness. To do this, we must recognize that white supremacy, present since the founding days of our nation, prevents us from achieving this kind of peace. As painful as it may be, we must acknowledge that white supremacy was no historical accident but came about through deliberate acts of legislation. We commit ourselves to identifying and rectifying the injustices that we have inherited from this insidious ideology, wherever they may be found. To move beyond this legacy of white supremacy, we must also work together to adopt fairer societal norms and to construct better governing institutions. Only then can we enjoy a society in which all of us can thrive … and breathe. In that society, countless persons—Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Travon Martin, Ahmaud Arbury, George Floyd, the nine victims of the Emanuel Massacre in Charleston, and so many more—would still be alive.
We have the capacity to care, to appreciate kindness, to express mercy, or to struggle for fairness. We must walk out our individual and collective calling. As people of God, our faith compels us to invite a variety of people to conversations focused on actions that redress the wounds of trauma and hurt created by cycle of revenge and violence. We pledge to partner and collaborate with groups working at the wide and multi-leveled intersection of economic and social justice. We commit ourselves to engage in applied community research and scholarship to discover the best and most effective tools for bringing about real change. We promise to follow the lead of people for whom change is essential.
The JPF Board believes that all human beings must be given the right and the means to live up to their potential. We are unwavering in our efforts because hope, which bridges the chasm from impossible to inevitable, will sustain through this dark hour. We are encouraged by the multi-racial coalitions of people, young to old, who are courageously and unflinchingly looking at the issues of brokenness. With their hearts, hands, minds, and spirits melded together, they are working to heal their communities, their nations, and, as a result, the world. How can we not feel hope today?
We, the Board of JPF, fight for justice, love mercy, and strive to do so with courage and humility. Although we believe that all lives matter, we are acutely aware that, until Black lives matter, our lives cannot matter. We vow to redouble our efforts in providing resources to and joining with efforts with our black and brown brothers and sisters, and their allies, to eliminate hate in society. We do not have all of the answers. But, we walk humbly and seek to be part of the beloved, connected community where you and I have a better future that we will share.
To have peaceful communities, we must create shared futures and cultivate trustworthiness. To do this, we must recognize that white supremacy, present since the founding days of our nation, prevents us from achieving this kind of peace.
Byron Bland (Board Chair)
J. Goosby Smith
Bishop Ernie Jackson
Rev. Jerry Van Marter