Anyone living in the here and now knows the racial oppression and disparity that cuts its way through our nation’s history has festered and burst. The infectious nature of ‘us and them’ has truly invaded every cell of our society. The tension is felt in the market place, churches, educational systems, the streets, the housing industry, on social media, in museums, and even around the family dinner table. Many of us do not wish to ignore this septic reality any longer. We’ve searched for ways to listen, learn, repent and make a difference. We’ve chosen different paths, but corporately I trust our efforts will bring about true equity, healing and reparation.
I was happy to learn that the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) had established the Dr. Emmanuel McCall Racial Justice and Leadership Initiative. This initiative is intended to address the systemic racial prejudice that exists within our own religious community. Dr. McCall has been a trailblazer of racial justice within Baptist life—particularly CBF life—for decades. He will lend his wisdom to this initiative which will include: increasing diversity and inclusion within CBF global staff; providing increased leadership development opportunities for Black members of CBF; developing diversity, inclusion, racial justice and equity resources for CBF churches; and initiating repair work opportunities for CBF Global, CBF state and regional organizations and local churches with and for the Black community, including social enterprise opportunities, micro lending initiatives, a rescue loan program and targeted scholarships for seminarians.
First Baptist Greenville will be a Founding Donor in this Initiative. Twenty churches have been asked to give $5000 each to launch this work. We did not hesitate. If you would like to learn more about the initiative or make an individual gift, please visit https://cbf.net/mccall-initiative.
Money, of course, is only a small part of the answer to this problem—an important part, but a small part. The larger challenge will be our continued individual work. We cannot let our attention regarding this disease slip away with the next news cycle or simply pass it on again to the next generation. Let’s keep listening…learning…giving….and doing the work. Our spiritual, national, community and personal health is worth it. Our fellow human beings are certainly worth it.