FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Drew Konow, firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-222-0055
September 23, 2016—As we continue to see violence enacted by the police on Black men, we at the Religious Institute say their names and mourn their deaths. Terence Crutcher. Keith Lamont Scott.
Once again, we proclaim that when Black people are targeted by racist systems that perpetuate violence, this is a direct affront to our belief in reproductive justice. We believe that all people should have the freedom to have children and to raise them without fear that they will be hurt or killed. When Black people are routinely targeted, beaten, or killed by police, no such freedom—for oneself or one’s children—is possible.
At the heart of religion is the belief that that the world can change, that human beings and societies can be better than we are. As people of faith, we are charged with creating a better world. We must take action. We must work together to create a society where Blackness is not criminalized. We must work together to create a world where Black parents do not fear for their children’s lives whenever they leave the house. To do so, we must name the truth of systemic racism in the United States and work to dismantle that system.
We acknowledge that religious leaders and people of faith come to the work of dismantling racism from many different places. Some have been doing this work for a long time, and remain engaged in the struggle. For others, the reality of inhabiting a Black body means the work of dismantling racism is never-ending work for survival. Others are just now coming to the realization that the United States is still burdened with its historic and continuing racist systems.
We are all impoverished by racist systems that devalue the bodies of Black people. We call on religious leaders and people of faith to take prophetic actions in their communities, and we commit to remaining in the struggle as well. We pray that people of faith will continue to read, learn, preach, pray, lament, mourn, protest, and take care of each other and ourselves. We must continue to work together to disrupt racism and transform society. Lives depend on it.
The Religious Institute (www.religiousinstitute.org), based in Westport, CT, is a nonprofit, multifaith organization dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education and justice in faith communities and society. More than 8,500 clergy, seminary presidents and deans, religious scholars and other religious leaders representing more than 50 faith traditions are part of the Religious Institute’s national religious leaders network.