Our Response to Systemic Racism
A Statement on ECY Becoming and Anti-Racist Community
Dear members and friends of ECY,
Over the past several weeks, the issue of racism in this country has once again reared its ugly head. On behalf of the Congregational Council, we the co-chairs have prepared a statement condemning anti-Black racism and its harmful effects on our communities. As part of our response, we will be revitalizing our Undoing Racism working group and invite you to be a part of it. Please let us know via this form if you would be interested in taking part as we close out the summer and begin the new academic year.
With every good wish,
Andrew, Kai, and Brandon
Co-Chairs Congregational Council
This is God’s Message: Attend to matters of justice. Set things right between people. Rescue victims from their exploiters. Don’t take advantage of the homeless, the orphans, the widows. Stop the murdering! Jeremiah 22:3
We, the Congregational Council Co-Chairs of The Episcopal Church at Yale (ECY), condemn the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Dominique Clayton, Tamir Rice, and countless others who have been killed at the hands of the police. At this pivotal moment, our faith demands that we speak out against systemic racism in America. We are called to persevere in resisting evil and be agents of justice, healing, and reconciliation.
As leaders at ECY, we pledge to better educate ourselves and our community about racism and racial bias, and the ways in which they give rise to injustices in the communities we serve. We promise to listen and amplify Black voices because we can not and will not stand idly by as the cries for justice from Black communities are silenced.
ECY operates at the juncture of two sites of contestation. Throughout its history, the Episcopal Church has been complicit in anti-Black racism. Even in our own city of New Haven, the Church has participated in segregation and other racist practices that have devalued Black lives. As part of the Yale community, we are also aware that the university has been complicit in anti-Black racism throughout its history. The legacies of these injustices still persist and are intricately linked to the discrimination and brutality faced by Black people today. At ECY, we see it as our role to take an active stance against these injustices.
ECY has made it a priority to actively eliminate racial bias within our community. Our Undoing Racism working group meets regularly and attends events during the academic year geared at recognizing the multitude of ways Black people and other underprivileged people of color are marginalized today. However, it is clear to us that we need more regular exposure and opportunities to listen and learn. As a first step, we are arranging biweekly meetings in which members of our community can come together to discuss articles, videos, and other works that address anti-Black racism and other related topics. We also underscore our support for all activists and movements across the globe that are fighting for justice and equality for Black people. We join them in saying, “Black Lives Matter.”
For those who are looking to contribute in more concrete ways, ECY encourages you to give directly to organizations doing work in our home of New Haven. The organizations include: People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, Citywide Youth Coalition, Elm City UROC (Undoing Racism and Organizing Collective), LEAP (Leadership, Education & Athletics in Partnership), Black Lives Matter New Haven, and Students for Educational Justice. In addition, ECY is making it a priority to support Black-owned restaurants and other places of business, and we encourage you to do so as well as well.
We will continue to think critically and actively about our role in becoming an anti-racist chaplaincy as we move into the new academic year. The journey to fully and completely eradicate racism in our society is long and requires us to give of ourselves, but we at ECY invite you to join us as we “Walk in love as Christ loved us, and gave himself for us, as an offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2).
Andrew Mertz ’22, Brandon Chambers ’21, and Kai Shulman ’22
For updated resources, check back here this month!
Fall 2020, COVID is not greater than Hope
Beloved Members of the ECY Community:
Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our students and on the ECY ministry. Students were asked not to return to campus after the spring break, and student leaders sprang into action, both to support each other, and to begin restructuring all of ECY’s pastoral, worship, formation, and social programs onto a virtual platform. Students rose amazingly to the crisis, finalizing restructuring the decision-making process at ECY so we are becoming truly student-led, and creating a new Congregational Council in the process. Then George Floyd was murdered, and stduents immediately embraced the prophetic national and international call to act against systemic racism. The Co-Chairs crafted a powerful statement asserting our decision to make becoming an anti-racist organization central to our mission, began gathering resources and participating in collaborative programs with others. (Statement on it’s way!)
As the fall semester begins, Yale’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic is still emerging and students are continuously discerning how best to reach out and welcome new undergraduate, graduate and professional students, and how to structure our programs in ways that will be accessible and nurturing to students in such a time of stress and uncertainty.
Blessings in every shade of fall,