WILMINGTON — The Wilmington Yearly Meeting (WYM) of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has approved a public statement on racial justice.
A draft statement on racial justice was considered and the public statement approved during the 2020 annual sessions held July 24-26 on the Zoom video conferencing platform.
According to the statement, “We find hope as our neighbors throughout the country reassess the symbols of oppression: the Confederate battle flag, statues of Confederate generals, and racially insensitive team mascots. These symbolic acts must be followed up by concrete reforms of our institutions and by reforming our personal behavior to eliminate the sometimes thoughtless and insensitive habits acquired from our culture.”
The statement announces that WYM members “pledge to work with renewed vigor toward compassion and equal justice for all.”
The WYM statement also says “… we have watched in horror as a policeman casually squeezed the life out of George Floyd. What horrifies us most is that this is not an isolated incident but an extreme example of a pattern of behavior all too common.”
After alluding to the relatively recent practice of children being separated from their parents at the southern U.S. border, the statement says there is a source common to law enforcement and border security at their worst.
“Such behaviors by authorities have a common root, a root that reaches back to the time when keeping order meant keeping black and brown people in their place,” reads the statement.
The Wilmington Yearly Meeting statement declares that there is such a thing as white privilege.
“… we acknowledge that those of us who are white are the beneficiaries of a privilege not accorded to all Americans. Further, our personal behavior sometimes reveals implicit biases that conflict with our ideals and even contribute to the oppression of others.”
WYM consists of a number of Quaker churches in southern Ohio and in Tennessee, including in the Clinton County, Ohio area. And the WYM includes three congregations within the city of Wilmington: Wilmington Friends Meeting in downtown Wilmington, Ada Chapel Friends Meeting on Grant Street, and Campus Friends Meeting located on the Wilmington College campus.
The Wilmington Yearly Meeting coordinator is Katie Ubry-Terrell, who grew up in Clinton County. She is a 1998 graduate of East Clinton.
The full text of the racial justice statement can be read on the WYM website.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.