Friends General Conference

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Oak Park Friends Meeting Minute on Black Lives Matter

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For over 350 years, Friends have hearkened to the testimony of equality among and respect for all persons as a standard for our behavior towards others. Our heritage includes much good work against slavery, for women’s rights, and for civil rights in general, including equal rights for people of color. Because we live not in an imaginary place but in the real world, our record is not perfect, and we have at times been misled in our efforts and actions. However, we continuously seek discernment and to be led by spirit towards right action, particularly in periods of crisis such as the present moment, when systemic racism, oppression, violence, and the murder of so many for the color of their skin has led to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Thus it is with Oak Park Friends Meeting. We honor Black lives and by extension the lives of all people of color. We affirm the equality of all people and work to end the scourge of white privilege past and present. Racial, social, economic and environmental justice are inextricably intertwined; all are aspects of the same brokenness at the core of our society. As products of this society most of us have benefited directly by our racial and economic privilege and we acknowledge the need to help repair that brokenness. Working effectively for restorative justice will require much interior labor and concrete action, both as individuals and as a meeting.

In his last Christmas sermon, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny.” This inter-relatedness confers a responsibility to help others, to repair what is broken, and to accept differences so that the dream of equality can emerge into reality and all may thrive. As Friends we affirm that in light of this understanding, we will labor to discern what is required of us and to steadily carry on this work as well as we are able.