OneSpirit Statement: Black Lives Matter

Jun 9, 2020

The brutal and callous murder of George Floyd in the US has sent shock waves around the world. Our hearts go out to his family and friends, and to all who have been touched and appalled by this act of senseless violence. Tragically, his death is not an ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ event – it is yet another episode of a deep-rooted systemic injustice, born out of racism and inequality. Each and every act of injustice is a stain that will not wash out. The litany of names that stand witness to this ongoing injustice should be on all our lips as we demand answers – Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner, to name just a few (and let’s not forget Mark Duggan, Christopher Alder, Sarah Reed, Sheku Bayoh and Sean Rigg here closer to home) – the list goes on and on…

We are saddened beyond words by the death of George Floyd. We know that every day, acts of cruelty cause needless suffering to our human brothers and sisters, and that this can erode our sense of outrage. Collectively, we become traumatised, fatigued and desensitised to injustice. We must nurture our outrage – and also our love, connection and capacity for forgiveness and tolerance.

We must also recognise that where injustice, inequality and racism are systemic, that means we all share responsibility for the million acts that value another person less than those that look like us that precede each police shooting, or death in custody. We could add the names of all those from BAME backgrounds who have died from Covid-19, all those who died in the Grenfell disaster, and we would not even be scratching the surface. This is a time for facing up to the truth of the part we each play in perpetuating injustice and inequality, through our privilege, our silence, our failure to act. Only when we have confronted our own failures to stand up for the society we want to live in can we truly stand up and say that we have made a difference. There can be no doubt in our minds and hearts that each one of us is needed to heal what keeps being torn apart.

This is not easy. We will not make empty promises here about what steps we are going to take within OneSpirit to combat the racism, inequality and prejudice that exist within our privileged world-view. There is an ongoing conversation about this within the organisation, and there are a number of measures we are exploring with staff, faculty and students to help us understand where, how and why we have failed to address systemic and individual racism, inequality and prejudice wherever it manifests within OneSpirit. It will not be enough. Let us be honest about that. We simply do not know what it will take to achieve meaningful change. But we will try…

We will root out the lies that we tell ourselves, the convenient half truths that comfort us. When we think we have done enough, we will recognise that it can never be enough. We will listen and learn, and pray that we can evolve in our understanding AND our actions, recognising this will take patience, honesty and commitment. We ask for your prayers in supporting us in this endeavour, and invite those of you who can to join us in our daily attunement at 11.58 am. In our hearts we stand for a paradigm that reflects the fundamental truth of interconnection – a paradigm informed by the principles of love, connection and wholeness.

Trustees, Staff and Faculty of OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation

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