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As Evanston communities of faith, we affirm the inherent dignity and worth of all people as created and beloved children of God. Racism, anti-blackness, and their violent and discriminatory manifestations in our society have been well documented since before the United States became a nation. Although the form and substance of this racism has changed over time, it is clear that our society still does not accord equal worth to each person. This is unacceptable and must change.
We recognize that systemic racial prejudice and institutionalized white supremacy continue to afflict our society. We acknowledge the validity of the pain and anger that have been expressed in response to the killings of unarmed African Americans by police officers.
Throughout history, people of faith have been called upon to defend and uplift the dignity of persons whose lives are threatened by adversity and societal ills. Systemic racism, implicit bias, and incidents of violence call into question whether our society truly values Black lives. It is therefore incumbent upon us to publicly proclaim the humanity, beauty, gifts, and worth of Black people.
Many houses of worship in Evanston are displaying Black Lives Matter signs as a symbol of our commitment to the ongoing work of making anti-racism a priority within our own institutions and our beloved community.
For those of us who are Christian, the choice to display these signs on church properties on Christmas Eve is particularly appropriate, as the holiday commemorates our belief in the importance of human experience on earth and the need to alleviate burdens and barriers in one another’s lives.
For all of our faith communities, publicly displaying Black Lives Matter signs is a way of recognizing that the discrimination and suffering are ongoing and conveys our commitment to intensify our communal work to end racism in all its forms – in Evanston and throughout our country.
Rev. Michael Kirby, Northminster Presbyterian; Rabbi Andrea London, Beth Emet the Free Synagogue; Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors, Second Baptist Church; Rev. Kat Banakis, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church; Rabbi Rachel Weiss, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation; Rev. Charles A. de Kay, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church; Rev. Eileen Wiviott, Unitarian Church of Evanston; Rev. Jessica Gregory, Northminster Presbyterian Church; Pastor Charlotte E. Tsuyuki Lehman, Reba Place Church; Sue Murphy, Executive Director of Interfaith Action of Evanston; Rev. Kalif Crutcher, M.Div, New Hope CME Church; Fr. Robert Oldershaw, Emeritus St. Nicholas Parish; Rev. Ann Ohlrogge Johnson, Northminster Presbyterian Church; Rev. Scott Castello, Grace Lutheran Church on behalf of Grace Lutheran Church; Rev. Dr. Debra K. Bullock, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church; Asayo Horibe, the Buddhist Council of the Midwest; Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler, Beth Emet the Free Synagogue