PC(USA) launches antiracism campaign at Big Tent conference

July 31, 2015

#SpeakAntiracism campaign representatives from various PC(USA) agencies.

#SpeakAntiracism campaign representatives from various PC(USA) agencies. —Sara Otoum


Incidents of racially charged violence across the country—from Ferguson to Baltimore and in many other cities in between—and the public reaction and outcry for justice that followed each have once again brought to light underlying racial tensions that continue to exist in American society.

This week at the Big Tent 2015 Conference held in Knoxville, Tenn., the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) officially launched the #SpeakAntiracism campaign. The campaign is a churchwide effort to recommit Presbyterians to racial justice and faithfully proclaim that the lives of people of color matter.

“Disparities still exist in our nation and in our church for racial ethnic persons, new immigrants and for many women,” said the Rev. Dr. Rhashell Hunter, director of Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries. “We hope that this campaign will highlight the need for individuals and groups in the Church to embrace God’s call to live as a beloved community.”

“This campaign affirms the Black Lives Matter movement, and will work to raise awareness of institutional racism in our society and the church. Awareness is the first step in working to break down barriers that still exist for so many,” she adds.

With the launch of the campaign, Presbyterians from different cultures and backgrounds are coming together to commit to work to end racism.

“We’re encouraging Presbyterians to take action, and offering some suggestions to get them started,” said Sera Chung, associate for Gender and Racial Justice in Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries. “They can engage with us on Twitter and use the hashtag #SpeakAntiracism to follow along with and participate in conversations about institutional racism, or they can pledge to schedule an antiracism training in their church or community. We’re also encouraging people to explore other learning opportunities, like the White Privilege Conference, and consider writing to their congress person to let them know that issues of racial justice are important to their constituents.”

The #SpeakAntiracism campaign is a collective campaign supported by all six agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)—The Presbyterian Mission Agency, The Board of Pensions, the Presbyterian Foundation, Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program, Presbyterian Publishing Corporation and the Office of the General Assembly—as well as Presbyterian Women in the PC(USA), Inc. To learn more about the campaign and find ways to get involved, visit www.pcusa.org/speakantiracism

  1. Until all lives really matter in practice - in the language we use, in the social and economic policies we implement, in the minds and hearts of police and politicians and Presbyterians - no, it's not enough to simply say "All lives matter." We need to be careful not to silence those who have already been hurt and pushed to the margins, simply because we feel uncomfortable with the language they choose. The bias of this movement is one that privileges the voices of the poor and oppressed over the voices of those in positions of power - which, correct me if I'm wrong, is also the bias of Jesus. These folks are doing the work of the gospel. Thank you!

    by Drew Paton

    January 28, 2016

  2. ALL lives matter. Period. Even in the womb!

    by John H Poulin

    August 14, 2015

  3. As with all other things PCUSA, one must parse and process any program through the ideological, political, and tribal, identity based theologies the organization employs to develop such things. The baggage and limitations of the "black lives matter movement" is that is has a corporate bias against Police, Public Safety, First Responders, and also contains elements of Anarchists mythologies, as we saw on display this past week in the Ferguson riots. Not to mention blind spots on black on black violence. So do all lives really do matter? Not really, and depends on whom you talk too. My guess is much like most top-down, management heavy, from the home office type of denominational programming it will get much press in the denominational controlled publishing and media, and quickly get lost in the message incoherence and disorganization that characterizes much of the PCUSA today.

    by Peter Gregory

    August 13, 2015

  4. Don't ALL lives matter?

    by Steve Taylor

    August 12, 2015

  5. May I have permission to republish this article or excerpts from it in the NAPC newsletter Connections, with appropriate credit given..

    by Jane Busey

    August 4, 2015