We live in a system that requires the police to use violence and validates their enacting of it.
-Communities United Against Police Brutality
The brutal deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and thousands whose names we will never know, are vivid expressions of the racism — and its strategic objective, white supremacy — that has shaped and defined the history of and current realities in both the United States and the denominations we represent. They remind us of the important role that state-sponsored violence plays in scrutinizing, policing, and controlling Black lives.
As Anabaptists, we have stood against the power of the state to use us in its enactment of war, understanding ourselves as a people called to “follow the Prince of Peace and his ways.” At the same time, however, we have often resisted understanding and dismantling the systems of supremacy that legitimize the scrutiny and policing of particular bodies and justify violence that is directed towards them. As stated in the MC USA statement, “violence is complex, and Jesus’ response was complex. We should not simply side with institutional violence because order feels like peace.”
We represent communities whose bodies have historically been singled out for scrutiny and judgement by both the church and society. We recognize that justice demands in this moment that all of us actively commit to dismantling the white supremacy that has been so devastating to communities of color, other marginalized populations, and to our nation and the church as well.
We invite others to join us as we:
a) Center the voices and experiences of people of color.
b) Work for freedom and justice for Black people, and by extension, all people.
c) Follow the leadership of people of color.
d) Reimagine community safety and scrutinize our relationship with the police. This includes actively engaging in community efforts to replace police functions and structures with appropriately trained, well-funded social service structures.
e) Raise conversations about how our church buildings, organizational facilities and community spaces can become “no police zones.”
f) Commit to develop skills in de-escalation in order that tense situations can be handled peacefully without police involvement.
g) Make use in our communities of the police abolition curriculum forthcoming from Mennonite Church USA.
Seeking just and equitable relationships –
Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBTQ Interests
Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition
Mennonite Jewish Relations
MennoPIN (the Mennonite Palestine Israel Network)