“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” (Proverbs 31:8)
We are all fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, and racism and discrimination deny basic humanity to all.
As we participate in Racial Justice Sunday, we need to acknowledge the 3 Rs;
- Remembering’ the importance of racial justice
- Reflecting’ on human diversity and thanking God for it
- ‘Responding’ by working to end injustice, racism and ignorance through prayer and action.
This ignorance has led me and many other Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups to experience perpetual 'second-class citizen' treatment. I have experienced discrimination in attending higher education from experiencing threats and being denied student finance. It is a testament to all my brothers and sisters who have prayed for me and supported me whilst I faced barriers from the hostile environment. This is one of the many reasons why Racial Justice Sunday is important because, as a Christian activist, I have always been curious about how faith and justice intersect. I've recently been inspired by Black theologians such as James Cone in how faith can be used as a political tool for empowerment and how the church plays an important role in advocating for the most vulnerable.
From acknowledging the lack of diversity in Christian unions or the privilege it is to even discuss justice issues on a Sunday. Within Christian communities, I frequently hear the phrase 'We are all one in Christ’. However, as I attend protests such as BLM, Youth Strike 4 the Climate or even Kill the Bill seeing the lack of solidarity from my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ makes me feel uneasy. The majority of the time I am the only Black woman attending protests in York, and although I feel like a trailblazer, I also feel anxiety and a mixture of confusion as I march past members of my congregation.
Queen Esther is a great example - justice, mercy and faithfulness are evident in her life and her timeless declaration "if I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16). Esther shows her sacrificial decision to use her privilege and power to benefit nations. We should be encouraged by her boldness to advocate for racial diversity within our churches and institutions.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Revd Mandy Ralph (Church of Scotland) - “What does Racial Justice Sunday have to do with us?” – Everything! It’s up to us as Christian communities to set a good example, to walk the talk, putting our faith into action in fighting racial injustice, and God wants that from all of us, not just a select few. For we are all made in the image of God, yet we are all also unique.”
Grace (pictured on the right) is part of our Prophetic Activist* alumni. Grace is a keen campaigner and is currently studying Human Geography and Environment (HuGE) at the University of York.
*The Prophetic Activist Scheme inspires, engages, and equips young adult (18-30 year old) Christians in campaigning and activism.