EMCC’s response to the unrest

The Edna Martin Christian Center, a Community Outreach Ministry of the American Baptist Churches Home Mission Societies, was founded on the premise that true community transformation can occur through faith and access. I am privileged to lead a staff committed to this critical ministry as we strive to engender the vision of hope, equity, and opportunity for all we serve. Sadly, for many of our brothers and sisters, this vision seems unreachable, as the recent unrest demonstrates.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the unnecessary deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Dreasjon "Sean" Reed and most recently, George Floyd have created a level of uncertainty, frustration, and justifiable anger that is being manifest in many ways -- some positive and yes, some negative. As African Americans experience the brunt of the pandemic with more than 50% of all COVID deaths, depression-era unemployment rates, and the latest acts of police violence on African American people, the scales of injustice have tipped toward rage. Our Country's response will shape the very fabric of our communities, our nation, and our world.

As a community partner focused on faith and empowerment, EMCC cannot sit by idly while racial and social injustices continue to devastate African American families.

  When leaders with power refuse to make the necessary systemic changes for those without power, the voiceless will show they matter by demanding immediate resolution with meaningful reforms. These reforms are essential to affirm African Americans' place as citizens with equal justice under the law.

To those protesting for equal rights and protections, we applaud and support you. EMCC is with you on the front lines. We will continue to support peaceful demonstration that leads to radical change. The latest inflection point must also serve as an opportunity to address the underlying economic and social challenges that contribute to the un-level playing field a disproportionate number of our people face. Anything less will add fuel to the fire that is raging figuratively and literally.

As a Black man, I live with the anguish of knowing that no matter your status or position in life, you are subject to levels of systematic racism that can frankly get you killed. As a father of a young black teenager, my anguish evolves to anger when I consider that he may equally endure the same reality. The talks with our sons and daughters about this reality are cautionary, but ring hollow when not coupled with real solutions that make these necessary talks obsolete.

EMCC stands prepared for the fight of our lives. It is in fact, the struggle of 400 years. We look forward to working in peace and solidarity with our neighbors and collective impact partners, so that vision of hope we seek to engender is renewed.