The Open Table is an actively antiracist church, prioritizing multiracial leadership, participation, and cross-racial friendships. We strive to create the community of God’s people on earth– where all are equal, and will work to dismantle any system that oppresses, excludes, or divides. White supremacy dehumanizes people and prevents us from seeing the divine in others, so we are committed to doing racial justice work as individuals and as a church body. We acknowledge that white supremacy is the cause of the violent crimes and murders happening in the Black community, and we have witnessed this in our country over the course of the last few weeks, and prior.
It has been a heavy week in our country and communities, especially for our Black siblings. However, the murders we’ve seen hit national news, from George Floyd to Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery– are not isolated instances. They are simply the ones that have received national coverage. Saying their names must continue, but in addition to all the names of those locally we have lost to racism and white supremacy.
Did you know that Ryan Stokes was an unarmed Black man who was killed by KCPD in 2013? Did you know that Cameron Lamb, a Black man, was killed by KCPD in his own backyard late last year? Did you know two KCPD officers were charged recently for assaulting Breonna Hill, a Black trans woman? Let’s also not forget about Ashley Fulkerson, Dantae Franklin, Terrence Bridges, and Donnie Sanders, who were all killed by KCPD.
At The Open Table, we stand with the protesters in our city and throughout our nation. After mobilizing for a decade and more for their liberation, nothing has changed. Black people are still dying from police brutality and unchecked police accountability. Wouldn’t you loot too? Yet, at the same time, many instances of these lootings are a small percentage of the mass majority. If you are more outraged by broken property than by the death of Black people, there are some deep questions you need to ask yourself. Property is replaceable. Black lives are not.
White people and white supremacy have been the source of violence and centuries long trauma inflicted upon Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). How BIPOC choose to show their pain and grief is not for white people to question. White people do a lot of judging from the sidelines about what is or is not a proper response to police brutality. The Open Table invites people to unpack the impulse to dismiss an entire movement due to a small percentage of looters.
It goes without saying, but despite all of this, we are still in a global pandemic. COVID-19 affects Black people at disproportionately high rates. White supremacy isn’t quarantined and hasn’t stopped. If COVID-19 doesn’t hurt Black folks, white supremacy will. COVID-19 testing is being offered over the next few days in town, with or without symptoms. Consider getting tested to help contact tracing of the virus.
May our commitment to peace and reconciliation lead us to always speak out against racism. May we continue to learn, grow and do the hard work of racial justice. May we seek to create a community that works for all people.
Organizations to support + find resources:
One Struggle KC: One Struggle KC is a collective of Kansas City activists seeking to connect the struggles of oppressed Black communities, locally and globally.
Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) KC: Showing Up for Racial Justice Kansas City (SURJ KC) is a local network organizing white people for racial justice. We are a part of the national SURJ network. http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/about
Support BIPOC businesses locally: List of local businesses can be found here
Donate to these funds or organizations:
Reale Justice Network Bail Fund
Contact these leaders:
1) Call Minneapolis DA Mike Freeman and demand he immediately arrest and charge the other 3 officers involved in George Floyd’s murder: 612-348-5550
2) Fill out the petition that sends 20 emails to Minnesota officials.
3.) Contact Judge Byrn to extend KC Eviction Moratorium for additional 6 months in solidarity with KC Tenants.
Presiding Judge David M. Byrn: firstname.lastname@example.org
Administrative Assistant: Michelle Dugan
Law Clerk: Darrell Smith
For education and learning:
- Pay attention to what media you are reading and consuming. How does it talk about Black people and the protests? What about the police? What language is used around it? Is the way they are describing the protesters focusing predominantly on Black people? Why is that? Ask questions about the media you consume.
- Learn about the relationship between local police and ICE, and support the Safe and Welcoming Wyandotte Coalition.
- Staff Curated List from KCMO Library on racism and white supremacy
- On Being’s interview with Claudia Rankine “How Can I Say This So We Can Stay in This Car Together?”
- On Being’s Interview with Patrisse Cullors + Robert Ross: The Spiritual Work of Black Lives Matter (including other interview on their platform)
- Sign up for our email list for more information and resources regarding antiracism trainings
- In addition, starting on 6/28, The Open Table will begin our new series on An Antiracist Spirituality for the next 8 gatherings. We will be exploring white supremacy characteristics through the lens of Christian mysticism and how spirituality and mysticism is a healing balm to these traumatic and systemic issues. Join us for our intro night online via Zoom. Facebook event to follow.