Ann Arbor Friends Meeting
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Readings for Reflection: August 2015
from the Committee on Ministry and Counsel

Members of Ministry and Counsel share with Friends a deep concern about the issue of racism in our culture, which was brought to our attention more forcibly by the unfortunate shooting of Aura Rosser by a local policeman last November. We have undertaken to study the issue in partnership with Peace and Social Concerns Committee, and hope to bring readings and events to the Meeting that will deepen our understanding and ability to act.

Last month Lynn Drickamer shared her searching questions in a “Reading for Reflection,” and this month I am sharing several paragraphs from a letter written by the Philadelphia staff of American Friends Service Committee on June 19. The piece refers to the killing of nine church-goers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina in that third week of June.
                                                                                                         ~ Nancy Taylor

Arresting Hate Throughout our Culture

Arresting the perpetrator of this mass murder will arrest a person, but not the problem. We will make no progress as a society if we believe that justice is done simply by punishing one individual white supremacist. Racism is not just a historic problem or the work of a few individual “bad apples.” Racism – whether by direct intent or deeply entrenched structural factors – is a problem in all aspects of American life, including economics, housing, health care, criminal justice, policing, education, and media coverage, among others.

We are living in a moment when many people in this country and abroad are seeing our nation’s addictions to racism and violence for what they are: social ills woven deeply into the tapestry of our society. This is a vital social challenge for all of us, and one that white people have particular responsibility to address. None of us will be truly secure until our systems are built to protect the wellbeing of all people.

In memory of the nine beautiful souls lost to the violence of a man propelled by racist philosophies and a culture of violence that our society as a whole is accountable for, each of us must recommit to ending these evils at their root. Acknowledging the effects of generations of racism and violence on our current condition is a first step. Taking concrete actions to transform our society, institutions, and relationships to end racism and violence is the next.

Please take advantage of the opportunities in Ann Arbor and surrounding communities to learn about racism and the many “next steps” available through Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice, Interfaith Round Table of Washtenaw County, our public library, and programs of other religious groups.     ~ The Committee on Ministry & Counsel

All Readings for Reflection

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