In the week leading up to the celebration of the life and legacy of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., two Evanstonians and their families were the victims of public hate crimes in our very own City.
Elisabeth “Biz” Lindsay-Ryan was attacked with anti-LGBTQ vitriol and Carolyn Dykes Murray was attacked with racist ideology. Both assaults were threatening and traumatic, and directly undermine the values of equity, anti-racism, and justice that these Evanstonians stand for.
Both homophobia and racism, along with antisemitism, islamophobia and xenophobia, are branches that stem from the roots of White Supremacy. As Evanston clergy and leaders, and as human beings, we are appalled, we are saddened and we are angered.
It has long been said that the role of religion is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” As people of faith, we surround District 65 School Board Vice President Lindsay-Ryan and Fifth Ward Alderperson Candidate Murray with care and with respect. These hate-filled actions are unconscionable, and we commit ourselves and our communities to upholding the dignity of every human being and putting more love into our Beloved community. We must care for one another.
At the same time, we commit ourselves and our congregations to be places that challenge us to speak up and speak out, to see our community as sacred ground for change that only comes when we actively resist bigotry, White Supremacy, and violence in speech and action. We commit ourselves to sound a clarion call for justice even when it makes us uncomfortable.
For “justice to roll like thunder and righteousness like a mighty stream,” we are called upon to respond when hatred and injustice rear their ugly head. We must continually work to create a more equitable society, demand respect for all human beings, and shatter the foundation of bias and systemic hatred that continue to undergird hateful behaviors and attitudes.
We will build this world with love (Psalm 89:3).
Rabbi Rachel Weiss, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation
Rabbi David Eber, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation
Rabbi Andrea London, Beth Emet Synagogue
Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors, Pastor, Second Baptist Church
Rev. Eileen Wiviott, Senior Minister, Unitarian Church of Evanston
Rev. Charlie deKay, Rector, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church
The Rev. Dr. Debra K. Bullock, Rector, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
Rev. Kat Banakis, Rector, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
Rev. Ann Ohlrogge Johnson, Northminster Presbyterian Church
Rev. Kurt Condra, Senior Minister, Unity on the North Shore
Asayo Horibe, President, Buddhist Council of the Midwest
Susan Murphy, Executive Director Interfaith Action of Evanston