A Call to Reject Racism and Engage in the Work of Justice
On June 4, 2020, The Rev. Canon Dr. Ellen Clark-King, Vice Dean and Canon for Social Justice, wrote to the cathedral community:
“We know that our Grace community has, like us, watched in horror as the brutal evidence of our society’s ingrained racism and white privilege has been made evident once again. These are not new stories of murder and disdain for black lives; we are just seeing the latest manifestation of a culture that began with slavery and continues with lynchings and mass incarceration.
“We at Grace condemn these evils as sins against humanity and against the God who created every human being and loves each of us with equal and passionate intensity.
“With the Congregation Council, we have a number of ways in which we are responding, both internally and externally.
“Malcolm and I, masked and socially distant, took a knee in a peaceful protest at City Hall on Monday morning. We have projected images of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbury on the cathedral, and tolled the bell to mark the 8 minutes and 46 seconds that George Floyd’s neck was under a police officer’s knee. We have called our congregation to read books that can help us understand the weight of the present moment. Malcolm will be writing an Op Ed that reflects our horror at these events.
“On June 7, Anna Deavere Smith recorded a sermon for our 11 a.m. live stream Choral Eucharist, and our collection was given to a local not-for-profit addressing endemic injustice.
“We are also committed to doing the work that we need to do as an institution and a community to attend to our own racism. We will be encouraging our members to join in small book study groups, inviting those of us who are white to examine our privilege and the reality of racism, and inviting those of us who are persons of color to choose books that offer hope for a changed world. We will also be providing anti-racism and cultural sensitivity training for all our staff.
“I have invited Regina Walton — congregation member and convener of the San Francisco Deanery – to add some words from her perspective as an African-American woman at this time.
We are called as followers of Christ to work for justice. Let’s get to work.”
Recent blog posts from congregation members about their experiences of racism:
Congregant Regina Walton’s June 3, 2020 blog post: Naming Our Trauma, Lifting our Voices — Please Listen
Congregant Lisa S. Wong’s May 21, 2020 blog post: Responding to Anti-Asian Racism and Covid-19: A Personal Reflection and Call to Action