PYM participates on the board of the National Council of Churches. This week we are sharing PYM’s General Secretary, Christie Duncan-Tessmer’s, reporting about the Conference of National Black Churches (CNBC).
The CNBC’s goal is to improve the quality of life for African Americans through their unique perspective on faith, and channel that energy into advocacy efforts. Just as Quaker Meetings and yearly meetings share their minutes with each other, the CNBC shared this call to action with all the member churches in our group. Their call to action to 20,000,000 members follows.
Council of National Black Churches’s Call to Action on the continuing violence of racism:
RESPONDING TO THE CONTINUING VIOLENCE OF RACISM
WHEREAS, There is a recognition that the following issues are not only social issues of concern of the Historic Black Churches but are evidence of a crisis of faith in our society where we see “anti-Christ” policies, politics and practices that test our democracy and faith, these issues call us to the urgency of Now!
WHEREAS, The Earth’s Climate is experiencing destabilization, and our planet’s ability to sustain life as we know it is in Crisis; and God has given humanity stewardship over the earth and has called us to protect, and preserve the earth and all living things; and
WHEREAS, There are historic socio-economic environmental injustices in our communities, which have resulted in the poisoning of Black and impoverished communities across the country, including air pollutants that have caused Black children to have higher rates of asthma, and events like the human-engineered water crisis in Flint, Mich., where residents were allowed to drink, cook, bathe in and otherwise consume water contaminated with dangerously high levels of lead causing harmful health impact; and
WHEREAS, Human-generated greenhouse gas emission from fossil fuel combustion-exacerbated by unsustainable land use such as deforestation are a leading cause of Climate Change; and Deforestation and wildfire suppression are making forests more vulnerable to fires and reducing the ability of forests to sequester and store carbon; and
WHEREAS, Glaciers melting at heightened rates have been and are resulting in rising sea levels, threatening coastal populations and ocean ecology; and The predicted impact of Climate Change through global warming will have a disproportionate impact on those living in poverty, least developed countries, the elderly and children and those least responsible for the emissions of greenhouse gases that prioritize the urgency to address systemic issues to build their resilience; and
WHEREAS, Ninety-seven percent of scientists around the world agree that Climate Change is real and human induced, and that we must stabilize global temperatures to prevent dangerous impacts to humans, flora, the sea and air; and we have witnessed significant shifts in precipitation, resulting in droughts and floods around the globe, and the increase in other extreme weather events, like tsunamis and hurricanes, leading to food insecurity and famine and decreased access to clean drinking water; and
WHEREAS, There is serious denial of Global Climate Change among some Elected Officials, Politicians and Religious Leaders; and unchecked Climate Change will have consequences in the areas of unemployment, human displacements, and an increase in homelessness; and drastic Global Climate Change is a challenge facing the Church, the nation and all populations around the world; and
WHEREAS, Leaders of Historically African American and South African Churches took a group pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine on February 21 – March 1, 2019 of this year who went as representatives of African American communities; as descendants of those who survived slavery, Jim Crow and who work now to dismantle the new Jim Crow of mass incarceration and militarization of police in our communities; and we came as representatives of the South African people who lived through the indignity of over 300 years of dehumanizing dispossession, colonialism, segregation and apartheid; and
WHEREAS, The delegation was dismayed at the conditions in which Palestinian communities live, and their hearts cried out over political standoff of which both Palestinians and Israelis have become prisoners may last long into the future and expressed shock at what appears to be an unstoppable gobbling up of Palestinian lands to almost render the proposed two-state solution unworkable; and
WHEREAS, As Christian pastors and leaders of denominations and the ecumenical movement they were humbled by the recognition that the precipitous shrinking community of indigenous Christian church communities of Palestine and Israel are the continuous presence of the church whose mission evangelized the rest of us in the world, and without whom we wouldn’t have the salvation we have in Jesus Christ who was born at Bethlehem and was crucified and resurrected at Jerusalem; and
WHEREAS, There is a need to restore federal funding in the Palestinian areas for hospitals like Augusta Victoria Hospital supported by ecumenical partners like Churches for Middle East Peace; and
WHEREAS, Voter Intimidation and Protections, Voter Registration, Voter Education and Voter Mobilization for the 2020 Election are of timely concern for our African American communities where hate crimes continue to disproportionately impact African American Churches and our communities thereby perpetuating a climate of fear; and
WHEREAS, there is an urgent need to have the Black Church commit to working vigorously to achieve a complete Census count of all African Americans in the 2020 US Census and all churches are encouraged to create Complete Count Committees; and
WHEREAS, Mass incarceration, police brutality, the foster care system and the school to pipeline continues to injure our African American communities as one out of three Black men are found in our prisons or out on probation; we extend
A CALL TO ACTION!
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The Conference of National Black Churches (CNBC), which is comprised of eight historically Black denominations that have a combined membership of 20 million people in 30,000 churches across the United States and throughout the African Diaspora in the year of the Quad-Centennial of enslaved African people to Fort Monroe, VA and on the eve of the General Election year in the United States, we embrace our call to the “urgency of now” to commit to work collectively to provide leadership that informs, educates, trains, enlightens, organizes and mobilizes our churches and communities to engage in concrete actions to engage these issues, and to advance public policy advocacy strategies locally, statewide and nationally and with regard to the electoral platforms of 2020 candidates; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CNBC recognizes its complicity in the damage human beings have caused to the earth’s climate system and other planetary life forms and urges a recommitment to be responsible stewards of God’ creation and to support all Mandatory measures that reduce the absolute amount of greenhouse gas emissions and in particular emissions of carbon dioxide to levels that support and sustain life; and
RESOLVE, to advocate for partnerships of congregations around the world with the congregations of Palestine and Israel, to promote linkages and intensify the ministry of presence; and
RESOLVE, to pray that the impending Israeli elections will result in a government devoted to pursuing peace negotiations and a two-state solution that will provide for a viable, contiguous Palestinian State and a secure Israel, that the soonest arrival of the day when Jerusalem will be the capital of both a Palestinian and an Israeli State at peace with one another, for a blessing for all Abrahamic faiths; and
RESOLVE, to commit to continuing on this journey together, to work alongside the oppressed Palestinian people, to advocating in our own countries among our governments for actions and policies that will help lead to a resolution of the conflict; and
RESOLVE, to advocate for local, state and federal policies to end mass incarceration, police brutality, the foster care system and the school to prison pipeline; and
RESOLVE, to further equitable participation in the 2020 General Election and related state and local elections through the active promotion and engagement of policies and practices in our Black Church 75 GOTV Campaign that will include: Voter Protection, Voter Registration, Voter Education and Voter Mobilization for the 2020 Election and in partnership with the When We All Vote and the Fair Count mobilization campaigns.
RESOLVE, to hold our communities accountable for proactive participation in the upcoming United States Census 2020 to ensure the socio-political and economic divide that exists within our country is not deepened by non-participation