Changing course, ‘shifting up’ to work on race

Over the last year or more, Greg Davidson Laszakovits has made a lot of changes, all by choice. Although it was a difficult year for many reasons, on a professional level 2021 was good—but “it’s not been tidy.” Tidy is not a word commonly used by those doing the work of healing racism, and Laszakovits is no exception.

District team emerges from felt need to confront the evil of racial injustice

We in the Southern Ohio and Kentucky District have always strived to be intentional about addressing the concerns in our society. For instance, during a Missional Renewal Team meeting shortly after George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020, the conversation centered on that tragedy and the epidemic of violence against people of color, along with the systemic racial injustice in our country triggering this violence.

Reading in the neighborhood

Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va. (Virlina District), formed a Race Education Team in 2019. Through racial justice studies led by the team, Central’s congregation learned about disparities in educational achievements, particularly the ability to read well, in low-income schools with large Black and Hispanic populations.

United Nations General Assembly commemorates calls for the elimination of racism

The United Nations General Assembly, held Sept. 21-15 in New York, on day two commemorated the Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA), which was adopted in 2001 at the world conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa. The trans-Atlantic slave trade, apartheid, and colonialism were recognized as sources of much modern-day racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.

Brethren Volunteer Service reaffirms statement on racism

The above statement was released on June 19, 2020. In November of 2020, BVS was asked to take the statement down temporarily because some of the language was offensive to members of the Church of the Brethren. In the spirit of the 2009 Annual Conference statement “A Structural Framework for Dealing with Strongly Controversial Issues,” BVS staff took time to work at mutual understanding, doing much research, listening, and learning. After reviewing Annual Conference statements, referencing the newly adopted Mission and Ministry Board Strategic Plan, and in light of events that have occurred since its initial release, BVS staff feels the need to restate its stance on racism and recommit itself to working towards healing racism.