Women of the ELCA has, in different ways, addressed racism concerns from the creation of this organization. Trainings, networks, resources, and articles have been established or offered. And yet, there is so much more that needs to be done. We need only look at recent happenings within our church and society to know so much more needs to be done.
With that in mind, last June the churchwide executive board adopted three strategic objectives for all expressions of Women of the ELCA: awareness-raising, accompaniment, and advocacy. (You can read the news story here.)
Now, on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it’s a great time to ask: what are we to do to meet these objectives?
With awareness-raising, we are called to educate ourselves and others about racism in the church, the society, and the world. We are to enable ourselves and others to see everything through an antiracist lens. We must look to our own American history and understand the truth of the racism upon which this country was built. We must look to our schools, hospitals, court systems, and other institutions to trace the thread of racism upon which they are structured. Women of the ELCA has curated a list of books, podcasts, and other resources to use in educating ourselves. Pick a book and start a discussion in your congregation now.
With accompaniment, European descent women (the majority within our organization) are asked to walk in solidarity with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) women in the struggle for racial equity. The bottom line is the development of authentic relationships with BIPOC women. Yes, developing any relationship is more challenging during this pandemic, but it can be done. It involves levels of risk and vulnerability on everyone’s part, along with self-awareness and honesty, but it can be done.
With advocacy, we are called to live out our Lutheran belief that governments can help advance the common good, focusing specifically on anti-racism issues. An immediate action we can take today is to support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act that will help ensure the voices of all citizens are safeguarded and heard. You can send a customizable letter to your U.S. senators calling for the passage of this act. You’ll also want to sign up to join the ELCA e-advocacy network today so you can remain informed and be a ready advocate.
To help you work towards all three objectives, join Women of the ELCA’s Racial Justice Advocacy Network, a network of bold women working towards systemic change through racial justice education and advocacy. Take action by learning more about the Racial Advocacy Justice Network.