We are the newly named “Mosaic” and find ourselves immediately facing a challenge to this new picture of “us” together. Can the pieces of the “mosaic” lament, repent, intercede, and act together in a way that reflects the whole body of Christ?
But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1 Corinthians 12:24-26)
We must remember the radical Anabaptist history and origin that we claim as Mennonites. This legacy is grounded in a costly and visible resistance to both the State and Church of that day, who sought to maintain the rule of “law and order” through domination. Anabaptists were ready to resist to the point of death so that the law of love and the way of Jesus would be amplified and accessible to all people.
To those within our conference who identify as Black, African American, Afro-Latinx, Caribbean American, of African descent or part of the African Diaspora. First, we want to emphatically affirm that your lives matter and that you are made in the image of the Divine. Your pain is our pain, we will mourn when you mourn and laugh when you laugh. You are not alone and we commit to stand by and with you—following your lead and taking responsibility for our part in dismantling the evil forces of racism, white supremacy, and anti-blackness that seek to harm and hurt you.
To those who are People of the Global Majority, with an identity other than Black. We also see your pain and struggle to not to be crushed by the systems of white supremacy. It is critical to find new ways not to segregate nor assimilate with the white dominant culture. Our goal is mutual transformation, but in order to get to that, the evil spirit that is at work must be identified. Siding with the dominant culture without awareness will not only make People of the Global Majority lose their identity but also part of the problem. Also—it is crucial to find ways to be in solidarity with Black people, sharing in the struggle, knowing that any beliefs that say that Black Lives don’t matter also applies to other minoritized groups. Because when Black lives matter, all lives will matter.
To those who are white within our conference. Choose to commit to your own work of repentance by educating yourselves about our shared, complex, and painful history of race in this nation, which has resulted in the inequities, injustice, and disparities of today. Examine yourself in the light of Scripture and the Spirit of truth, written and spoken work of people of color, and the numerous resources that are available on the topics of equity and social justice. Have ears to ear and a heart to understand and move to lament and repentance for the ways whiteness and white supremacy have lived in our hearts and in our churches. Act for racial justice.
Below is a list of resources we have compiled to support you in this critical time of resistance in our shared history as Anabaptists in the U.S. Please know that the Mosaic Intercultural Team is available for continued support and as a resource as well.
Lament in Spanish and English, by Javier Márquez
Lament in Spanish and English
By Javier Márquez
Esta mañana oramos sin esconder el dolor en nuestros corazones por la muerte de George Floyd. Duele cada minuto que pasa sin justicia, que es un elemento indispensable de la paz. Duele cada minuto cuando somos testigos que los actos de odio siguen matando, polarizando, separandonos como hermanos y hermanas. Duele cada minuto que pasamos a la sombra de la impunidad. Duele cada minuto cuando nos preguntamos quién era George Floyd, a quiénes ha dejado solos, quiénes no podrán volver a sentir su amor, sus abrazos, sus palabras, sus miradas, sus sonrisas. Duele cada minuto también porque el Espíritu Santo nos hace conscientes que la muerte violenta, desalentadora e injusta de George Floyd es en muchos sentidos nuestra propia muerte, que el dolor de su familia y amigos es nuestro propio dolor, que la ira de su comunidad es nuestra propia ira, que la desesperanza que viven en este momento en Minneapolis se puede convertir en la nuestra no importa en qué ciudad o país vivamos.
Oramos a un Jesús que lloró con los tristes y sufrió con los oprimidos y dijo “Bienaventurados los que lloran porque serán consolados” y “Bienaventurados los que tienen hambre y sed de justicia porque serán saciados”. Por eso nuestra oración también es una denuncia que reclama por verdadera paz, que pide por perdón, esperando por días de real e integral reconciliación.
(Translation in English)
This morning we prayed without hiding the pain in our hearts for the death of George Floyd. It hurts every minute that passes without justice, which is an indispensable element of peace. It hurts every minute when we witness that acts of hatred continue killing, polarizing, separating us as brothers and sisters. It hurts every minute we spend in the shadow of impunity. It hurts every minute when we wonder who George Floyd was, who he has left alone, who will never be able to feel his love, his hugs, his words, his looks, his smiles. It hurts every minute also because the Holy Spirit makes us aware that George Floyd’s violent, discouraging and unjust death is in many ways our own death, that the pain of his family and friends is our own pain, that the anger of his community is our own anger, that the hopelessness that we are living in this moment can become ours.
We pray to a Jesus who wept with the sad and suffered with the oppressed. That is why our prayer is also a complaint that claims for true peace, that asks for forgiveness, waiting for days of real and comprehensive reconciliation.
From Mennonite Church USA
- Mennonite Church USA statement on racial injustice by Mennonite Church Executive Board staff
- Prayers of Lament, compiled by MC USA
- We need to engage in more costly peacemaking by Glen Guyton, MC USA Executive Director
- Finding Steady Ground, 7 behaviors to cultivate spiritual and internal strength in these times.
- Stop Talking About Racial Reconciliation and Start Talking About White Supremacy by Erna Kim Hackett
- Racial Trauma is Real, a guide to developing self care practices to recover from racial trauma for People of Color/People of the Global Majority in the U.S. by Maryam M. Jernigan, Carlton E. Green, Leyla Pérez-Gualdrón, Marcia Liu, Kevin T. Henze, Cynthia Chen, Kisha N. Bazelais, Anmol Satiani, Ethan H. Mereish, Janet E. Helms.
- White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
- 20+ Allyship Actions for Asians to Show Up for the Black Community Right Now
- ANTI-RACISM FOR ASIAN AMERICANS
Podcasts and Videos
Irresistible Podcast, a podcast with interviews, practices and resources for healing justice work.
White Women’s Toxic Tears – Lisa Sharon Harper conversation with Jen Hatmaker.
13th, is a 2016 American documentary by director Ava DuVernay. The film explores the “intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States;” it is titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted in 1865, which abolished slavery throughout the United States and ended involuntary servitude except as a punishment for conviction of a crime.
Just Mercy– a movie about the work of Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative (free movie rent on YouTube)
Additional list of Intercultural Resources from http://mosaicmennonites.org/intercultural/