Editor’s Note: The following is from members of the Wilmington Area Ministerial Association and is the text of a petition that may be found at https://bit.ly/2V4k8o2 .
An Open Letter to All Citizens of Clinton County, Ohio:
For the past four months, the health of our nation has been under siege from a deadly virus that will eventually be contained by best practices and medical science. To that end, we have poured innumerable resources to eradicate this health crisis.
For the past four hundred years, however, the soul of our nation has been under siege from the deadly virus of racism. There have been many efforts to eradicate this illness, but it continues to infect and sicken us in violent and systemic ways. Most recently have been the unjustifiable deaths of Ahmaud Abery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
We grieve that systemic racism has not only denied but often violently blocked many persons of color from the benefits “of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” To deny anyone because of race or ethnicity, the full rights of personhood is a crime against humanity and a sin against God and neighbor.
As community members in Clinton County, Ohio, we the undersigned do hereby affix our names and acknowledge that each of us is invested with certain authority to serve our community, to assure equal access to the provisions, programs, and opportunities available to our citizens, and to protect and enable the most vulnerable among us. To this end,
• the long list of names of those whose lives have been unjustly taken;
• the elements of inequity and discrimination that still reign unchecked;
• any incidents of excessive violence displayed by law enforcement nationwide;
• the insufficient support offered to the oppressed among us.
• for families, spouses, children, parents, and friends who have lost loved ones
• for those who, like Rachel of the Bible, find themselves weeping inconsolably;
• for those who fear if they and their loved ones will arrive home safely each day;
• for us all to have the courage of our convictions to eradicate racism from our nation.
• that many would rather turn away from facing this problem;
• that even unwittingly, some have benefitted from privilege at the expense of others;
• that many have failed to listen to those who have experienced racial violence;
• that, in failing to act, many people of color are denied justice and equity.
• to expand our awareness of the history of racism and its ongoing effect on people of color;
• to support any efforts to raise the consciousness of our nation;
• to support public officials, local leadership and law enforcement to the best of our ability;
• when necessary, to hold accountable those who abuse their power;
• to support those who offer peaceful protest with our presence, our voices, and our votes.
We invite everyone in our communities
• to join together in prayer, reflection, and committed action;
• to quickly speak up/out against racism when identified;
• to dismantle the often subtle but destructive structures of racism in our midst;
• to remain steadfast in this pursuit until all people are equally valued.