Social Justice Minute
Friends Meeting of Nashville stands with the Black Lives Matter movement and all others who seek to dismantle systemic racism in the United States. Institutionalized racism is embedded in all aspects of American life, and all white individuals are culpable in continuing the systems of injustice that harm Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals and communities. Black women, men, children, and non-binary individuals need actionable and sustained support to access the freedoms and rights that should be theirs inherently. Black people are murdered by police regularly, have been denied true access to an equitable and sufficient education through the school-to-prison pipeline, consistently receive lower quality medical and maternal care, and experience both blatant and subtle transgressions against their dignity on a daily basis. These are only a few of the continued injustices that stem from a long history of enslavement, violence, and theft of intergenerational wealth in land, assets, and opportunities.
Our Quaker testimonies lead us to oppose all forms of violence and to demand an end to endless war. Yet, there continues to be a war on Black lives and Black equality in America. No more clearly is this evidenced than by the disproportionate percentage of Black individuals whose lives have been violently impacted by the prison-industrial system. It is our commitment to nonviolence that challenges us to seek the abolition of the prison-industrial system, in all of its diverse manifestations, and to work towards systems of community justice that support the well-being, health, and safety of all community members.
As Quakers, we value the testimonies of integrity, equality, simplicity, community, stewardship of the Earth, and peace. We seek to recognize the Light in all individuals and to pursue a society founded on peace and justice. While there are many historical and contemporary examples of Quakers working towards these goals, there are myriad other times that, in public and in private, we have been culpable in perpetuating the legacy of white supremacy. We acknowledge that we must engage in self-reflection and hold ourselves accountable as we strive to embody the testimonies that we hold dear. Expressing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement is not enough, and never was. Our actions must align with our strongly held beliefs in justice, equality, and peace.
As a Meeting, we commit to a process of sustained, dedicated reflection, learning, and action, as outlined by the following:
- We will continue listening and learning, as individuals and as a Meeting, to understand our place in and influence on systems of injustice, especially attending to the experiences and expertise of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Quakers and writers.
- We will hold each other accountable for the mistakes we will inevitably make as we continue our anti-racist education and work.
- We will use our Meeting House as a resource to tangibly support the work of social justice initiatives led by BIPOC in Nashville.
- We will identify, share, and pursue ways to financially support BIPOC communities through the investment of meeting funds in: grassroots reparations efforts, BIPOC-led businesses, community justice organizations, and financial compensation to BIPOC educators.
- We will support advocacy for legislation and policies to dismantle the bedrock of white supremacy and to support reparations at the local, state, and national level.
- We will work to connect with other organizations and faith communities in our neighborhood and city that are working to end systemic racism.
- We will incorporate feedback from community members of color and continue to audit our work as the Meeting grows and changes.