At a recent meeting, your executive board adopted the Presiding Bishop’s statement on racial reconciliation, and we have begun the process of addressing systemic racism in our communities and within our own organization. This action, amongst others, was prompted by the recent brutal killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. We condemn all such actions.
“Racial terror in this form occurred when I was a teenager growing up black in Buffalo, New York,” wrote Presiding Bishop Curry. “It extends back to the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955 and well before that. It is not just our present or our history. It is part of the fabric of American life.”
This action was further prompted by the resignation of three of our valued black board members who had crafted a position statement that we as a Board were not ready to address without a full and open discussion within the Executive Board. Their resignation saddens us, and we will continue to reach out to them in hopes of bringing about reconciliation.
Your national leadership is already committed to racial reconciliation and has been for many years. We are renewing our commitment. The recent tragic killings of young black men and women has been a wake-up call for our organization. We are truly dedicated to making the changes needed and to making long-term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation, and justice.
Towards that end, many of the Board members attended the recent three-session webinar series “Becoming Beloved Community NOW” convened by the Episcopal Church Presiding Officers’ Advisory Group on Beloved Community Implementation. We have updated the Racial Reconciliation section of our website and it now includes a list of resources to help us and our chapters begin the process of understanding systemic racism and white privilege.
We have connected with the Rev. Isaiah Shaneequa Brokenleg, the staff officer for racial reconciliation for the Episcopal Church and a member of the Presiding Bishop’s staff, to assist us in addressing the root causes of racism. We have heard our brother’s voices, and we are committed to “Becoming Beloved Community.”
To move forward we need to increase the diversity of men in leadership roles. We also need to learn to engage in concrete action steps to help us learn how to have difficult conversations in healthy ways. We are actively seeking men of color to join our leadership team and join us in “Becoming a Beloved Community”. If you are interested in being a part of this work, or just have questions please let us know by emailing or calling:
Jack Hanstein-our Sr VP, at Jack.email@example.com 623 512 7608 or Dick Hooper our National Council Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org 850 572 2338