The African American Mennonite Association called upon fellow Mennonite Church USA congregations, which are predominately white, to be involved in healing and reconciliation amid the protests that erupted since the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
AAMA advocates and works to equip African Americans and African American integrated congregations within the denomination.
In a statement released June 3, AAMA identified other recent racial confrontations that have caused great pain or ended in death, including the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately killed black, brown and indigenous people.
AAMA urged MC USA “to mourn and lament the senseless acts of violence, to walk alongside the suffering and oppressed, enter into their stories and let compassion become action that calls for just and prudent steps toward healing, hope and reconciliation in our communities in crisis.”
AAMA reaffirmed the denomination’s commitment to peace. However, the writers of the statement stressed that emphasizing peace should not mean desiring a return to how things were. Racism has long been America’s original sin, since the colonial period when Europeans encountered and displaced through war and disease the indigenous people.
America’s early economy was built upon the free labor of enslaved Africans, followed by legal segregation that prevented African Americans from equal opportunities to acquire wealth. Immigrants have also experienced harsh racial discrimination. Rather than repentance and correction, the nation has failed to fully address racism, allowing it to foment for generations.
“To desire a return to ‘normal’ when social justice requires confronting those issues that fuel and fan the flames of injustice, prejudice, hatred, fear and violence ignited by racism disappoints the prophetic call to ‘Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God,’ ” AAMA wrote.
AAMA concluded by urging MC USA “to speak to the dominant culture in this society that all may see ‘swords transformed into plowshares and spears into tools for pruning.’ ”
The full statement is online at mennoniteusa.org/official-aama-statement.