2 June 2020
“The plague of racism is insidious, entering into our minds as smoothly and quietly and invisibly as floating airborne microbes enter into our bodies to find lifelong purchase in our bloodstreams.”
– Maya Angelou
The Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion (CLGS) condemns the brutal murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020 and we, the staff members of CLGS, extend our heartfelt condolences to the surviving family and friends of Mr. Floyd.
To say that the killing of George Floyd is a result of the twofold plague of systemic racism and white supremacy that infects and affects our country is to state what should now be obvious to everyone: that the sin of white racism and the oppression and murder of countless Black and Brown people must come to an end and that we must commit to do the hard work of bringing an end to the evils of white racism in this nation.
In order to fight the insidious pandemic of racism in the United States, which began well before this country was founded, we name this plague for what it is: a poison that is destroying the very foundations and fabric of our society. Moreover, we understand that it is white people who must do the work of dismantling the privilege that white people enjoy at the expense – and lives – of Black and Brown people. For this dismantling to happen, however, so much needs to be transformed: from individual hearts and minds to the political, civic, religious, economic, educational, and cultural institutions – including queer institutions – that feed and perpetuate this racist and death-dealing mentality.
We pledge today to continue – and intensify – our commitment to the anti-racist, justice-seeking, and intersectional work that motivates us as staff members of CLGS, an LGBTQ organization dedicated “to advancing the well-being of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and transforming faith communities and the wider society by taking a leading role in shaping a new public discourse on religion and sexuality.”
This new public discourse that we seek to shape and promote is a discourse that is not only rooted in anti-racism but that moves us from talk to action and real change for our Black and Brown siblings, many of whom live daily with the realities of racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia.
We ask you to join us in this work.
Rev. Dr. Carla Roland Guzmán, Coordinator of the CLGS Latinx Roundtable
Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw, Coordinator of the CLGS Transgender Roundtable
Rabbi Jane Litman, Coordinator of the CLGS Jewish Roundtable
Dr. Bernard Schlager, Executive Director
Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow, Coordinator of the CLGS African American Roundtable