In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other Black people, ministry volunteers processed and prayed together during a vigil for Black lives. Ministry volunteers created the space to be one of lament, but also of hope with a celebration of Black artists and activists. Current volunteers Madison Neumaier and Olivia Nguyen led the event but it was a collective collaboration of the entire volunteer community.
“Our goal was to create an event that was both a celebration of life and a celebration of resilience! We felt it important to come together as a community to grieve the loss of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the countless others who have lost their lives due to profiling and racism. Their lives were meaningful and taken too soon. We wanted to recognize the impact of these individuals as a community and celebrate their lives. However, the issues of systemic racism and police brutality that these recent deaths have brought to light are not new. Therefore, we also wanted to take time to highlight the voices of those who have already been fighting racism through various mediums. We especially wanted to highlight the voices of the people of color who have been constantly doing anti-racism work and using their platforms for advocacy. It is important to educate ourselves on these issues so we can make a change! There are so many important and intentional creators who have been using their platforms to bring these issues to light. It is important not only to grieve the loss of those who have been taken too soon, but to work towards reform and dismantle the systems that bolster white supremacy in our country. Highlighting the voices of these Black creators is one way to work towards accomplishing that goal.” – Madison
“We were able to hold space for both beauty and pain. Each of us understood that the issues are terribly interconnected, vast, and complex for us to be able to fix them with one concrete solution. We came into the space with our own perspectives and contexts regarding the issues of systemic racism. Each of us had to acknowledge and confront our limitations. In doing so, we were able to give ourselves grace and understand that there are myriads of ways of crying out with our brothers and sisters and promoting change.” – Olivia
We invite you to pray with us and find your call to action.
Black Lives Matter: A Celebration of Resilience
BSVM 2019-2020 Community
- Madi- We pray for systematic reform and an end to the policies that bolster injustice. We pray for all those who have lost their life as a result of racial discrimination. We pray for all those who have experienced racism. We pray for an end to bias. We pray for the Black community- may their voices be celebrated, uplifted and heard. Together, we pray.
- Liv- For those who live in fear and have lost hope in a world that induces suffering as a result of systematic racism and oppression. May the circle be broken to create a world where they can find healing, strength and love to be themselves, to be heard, and to flourish. Together, we pray.
- Jenna- For those who are affected by the devastating impacts of massive economic disparities between communities and of isolating people geographically according to race and class. Spatial racism creates a visible chasm between those who are rich and those who are poor, as well as between white people and people of color. We beg for both forgiveness and conversion as we lift up the voices of people of color who cry out against spatial racism. Together, we pray.
- Josh- For George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the others who have lost their lives to police brutality, discrimination, and systemic racism in our criminal justice system that criminalizes the color of our brothers’ and sisters’ skin. May we honor their memories and finally be stirred into action as a society to break cycles of complacency and work towards real change. Together, we pray.
- Mark- We pray for the untold stories and the forgotten lives that are hidden from us in history because of the oppression of systemic racism. May we honor the life they have brought and continue to bring to our world. Together, we pray
- Nancy- “So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive” – Audre Lorde. We pray that we all learn to listen to the voices of the unheard. So that we may best support and change the narrative from forgotten lives to success stories. To recognize resilience and triumph of the marginalized rather than blame them for their circumstance. So that we shed light to the inequalities that oppress and minimize these populations so that our collective good is spread to all oppressed communities. Together, we pray.
- Abby- For acknowledgement that the disparities found in COVID-19 cases of infection and deaths are a result of systemic racism and deeply rooted in policies and actions of white supremacy over hundreds of years. That we may work towards the reform of policies and practices that seek to right the wrongs of racism and oppression. Policies that will give equitable access to treatment and preventative care and address disparities found in the built environment that affect social determinants of health. Together, we pray.
- Delaney- For those who have been persecuted and brutalized because of the color of their skin. That unjust acts of racial terrorism be addressed by people in power in this country, and that those people of power take action to address the systematic injustices that create pain and suffering for marginalized groups. For those who identify as Black–that they be heard and listened to and that they receive authentic, committed support by individuals that do not understand their experiences. Together, we pray.
- Elizabeth- For all people, that we would remember that our lives are bound together and that we cannot be free or at peace until all of us have freedom and peace. That we can learn to better stand with our brothers and sisters and walk all of us together. Together, we pray.
- Together: Oh Lord, As we strive to rid ourselves of sinful prejudices, grant us the grace and strength to also work in your name to dismantle the oppressive systems in our nation and world. Create in us a new mind and heart that will enable us to see Christ in the faces of those of a different race, gender, sexual orientation, or immigration status. Help us to create a Church and nation that embraces the hopes and fears of the marginalized. Heal your family God, and make us one with you, in union with our brother, Jesus, and empowered by your Holy Spirit. Amen. (Prayer was shared by Abby)
The volunteers then shared some Google slides that highlighted Black and Brown artists, creators, and activists who have been doing anti-racism work through a variety of mediums. They recognized that no list would be comprehensive, but they wanted to share with each other accounts of people to follow on social media, articles and books to read, podcasts to listen to, and videos or films to watch. Community is a resource to help us process the volume of information available to us. Together, we can help expand our circles of understanding and continue on the journey of growth in compassion, healing, and liberation.
While each of us is faced with our own crosses regarding racism, let this be a commitment of growth. May it be learning or educating more. May it be answering the call to courage to join the arena. May it be giving love or accepting love. May it be navigating our own channels of healing, peace, and justice. Let us not sit idly, but to cry out about racism, call for action, and create space for healing, love, and hope.