From April 3-6, 2018 people of faith from across the state joined together on a bus trip to Washington D.C. to participate in ACT Now! Unite to End Racism, which included worship, silent prayer walk, a rally at the National Mall, and an advocacy day. The three buses departing from different Wisconsin cities were organized by the Wisconsin Council of Churches, and included several from ABC Wisconsin including Regional Executive Minister, Marie Onwubuariri, her daughter, Rev. Sudie Jones, and Rev. Jason Mack with a group from First Baptist Madison. Participants from across the US gathered to launch a movement to:
AWAKEN ourselves to the truth that racism is ever-present, deeply rooted in American culture, and profoundly damaging to our communities.
CONFRONT racism, speak truth to ourselves, our communities and institutions, and stand against injustice.
TRANSFORM the hearts, minds, and behaviors of people and structures that shape society.
This movement was initiated by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) and is joined and endorsed by many other ministry partners, including the American Baptist Churches USA, a member communion of the the NCC.
Rev. Marie attended the Rally on April 4th, in part to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Baptist forefather, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and in part because of her own commitment to working toward racial justice in the region and in other areas of engagement of her life. In reflection upon the event, Rev. Marie shared,
“When I was called to serve this region, part of the charge was to envision how we can better serve and engage all member churches of the region, even across our diverse cultural realities, and especially those who historically have been less engaged for a variety of reasons. We will not even begin to experience the gifts and power of our racially and ethnically diverse organization unless we explicitly explore and address how racism — in all its forms — has impacted and shaped our existence. Where those in our region have taken strong stances to fight against the tides of racism, we must re-visit, re-learn, and continue in that legacy. Where those of our region have been complicit or even participatory in the sin of racism, we must awaken, confront, and transform. I have said often, ABC/WI is positioned to witness to the unifying power of Jesus Christ because of who we are collectively. Working toward eradicating the impact of racism among us is a necessary imperative in our gospel work, and we will continue to keep this before us in various settings and through a variety of efforts.”
Further reflections from Rev. Marie and her daughter can be found HERE.
Delegation from First Baptist Church of Madison: You can read more details about the events across the three days and the reflections from Pastor Jason Mack and church members in attendance by visiting their website HERE.
Wisconsin Council of Churches recap can be found HERE.
American Baptist press release can be found HERE.
To learn more about the Act to End Racism Movement and view speeches from the April 4 Rally Day, visit their website HERE.
To read a previous pastoral letter from ABC/WI Regional Executive Minister, which includes a call to action regarding dismantling racism, click HERE.