We want to be explicit here: Black lives matter.
As God’s creation, we are all created equal and deserve to be treated so. As Christians who know, believe and recognize that we live in a broken world, we acknowledge that within this broken world there are unjust and broken systems at play. There is and has been no framework or structure that we can appraise as having been without flaw. Moreover, as imperfect and broken individuals who live in this world, we also contribute to and perpetuate inequality in countless ways. All that to say, both now and throughout our country’s history, we have repeatedly seen how our Black brothers and sisters have been victims of oppression.
Don’t hear what we aren’t saying. Yes, other racial groups and ethnicities also face their share of racism. This statement does not discount that. Rather, hear what we and other voices are proclaiming: that for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the innumerable other Black individuals who have been murdered at the hands of this broken world and continue to be oppressed by it, Black lives matter.
To our Black brothers and sisters: you matter and are so valuable, intelligent, and beautiful. You should be loved, seen, heard, and accepted for all you are: exactly who God created you to be. Our hearts, minds, and souls ache with you that these truths need to constantly be reiterated and readdressed when they should be innately understood. God created diversity; He created and loves all people. We want to not only celebrate that but also honor that. We mourn with you and seek to fight for equality alongside you. Black lives matter.
*YHWH stands in solidarity with the people of the Black community, not the official Black Lives Matter foundation and its beliefs
To Christ-followers, those who profess the truth of the Gospel:
Be like Jesus and seek to make Him known.
Knowing that we live in a broken world and that true and complete justice found in God cannot be found on this earth, how do we approach not only recognizing injustice but also fighting against it? Look to Jesus.
In John 4 we learn about Jesus’ character through His encounter with a Samaritan woman. This account is one of many that describe His character. The interaction between Jesus and the woman demonstrates how Jesus cares for others before himself. Jesus–who very well knew the political, cultural, and religious divides that barricaded others from even acknowledging the woman–conversed with her without hesitation. His desire to extend love moved him more than the perceived comfort of dismissing her. Jesus embraced this Samaritan woman, who had been cast out on all fronts by the world around her; He showed her that she was not alone.
Jesus shows no partiality with His love. That is, He reaches out and supports all those who are in need and affliction. We are called to do the same, to look past divides and honor everyone’s Imago Dei. The great commonality that we need Jesus is a binding force stronger than all that could separate us. Thus, we cannot live in exclusion; one’s problems is a problem we must all address. Today, the problem is that there is a group of people whose rights are being violated because of the color of their skin.
We cannot identify as followers of Jesus Christ yet turn a blind eye to all that is going on in our world. The privilege of knowing Christ does not merit us to be neither above nor detached from the issues regarding racism. But rather, it is a call to be
Thus, our intent and posture of activism on this earth should strive to not only follow, but be led by Jesus: the one who saves, redeems, restores, and will return.
So out of our salvation and devotion, we must then do what Jesus did. As we live in the tension of knowing the truth of the Gospel yet seeing the evils of this world, we must fight against sin, one of which is racism, and make our Savior known as we wait for His return. We must proclaim and reveal the abundant love, grace, and mercy that God gives us and invite others into that.
What does this mean?
Be constant in prayer, be rooted in the Bible, and be engaged in the systems and structures of the world we live in. Prayer is so important and so powerful. Do not discount that. It is not a last resort but is our fighting cry, our victory song, and everything in between. But in order to know what to pray for and understand the depths of how our world falls short of what God promises, we need to be educated; prayer should not be our only means of support. We need to extend beyond ourselves, lean in, and get uncomfortable by having conversations and being fully involved. There is no sector of life in which the Gospel should not be proclaimed. God has given each of us various spheres of influence. So be active, intentional, and personal with how you love others: listen, ask questions, show compassion, and empathize. Show up and be present. Walk alongside the Black community as they voice their sufferings and mourn, just as God does for you.
Both in and out of the Church, let’s broaden our knowledge and understanding of this world beyond the scope of our own circumstances, thoughts, and experiences; let’s love our neighbors as ourselves. Through this process may we come to understand more deeply who our God is, the blood He shed for us, and the immense and indescribable love that He has for us. May we be stewards of Christ as we join to fight against the injustices and brutality faced by the Black community, both seen and unseen. God is not absent of emotion. As more of the brokenness we’ve been blind to become apparent, may we express and channel those emotions into righteous actions that will rectify injustice.
God is sovereign. Our hope and assurance in this battle comes from the fulfillment of an eternal promise: Jesus. Knowing our pains and having already conquered the sins of this world, Jesus is our revival. May that hope and promise be our active fuel and our motive, overcoming our complacency in order to advocate for God’s plan and not our own. Ultimately, our hope and redemption are found in Christ. May we be awakened to the greatness of our God, the root and creator of love and justice, so that we may share that truth, invite others into His Kingdom, and make the way of the Father known.
We understand that effective change must happen internally in order to have a lasting impact. To this effort, YHWH is committing to:
- Reflect and emphasize the diversity of God’s kingdom through the content we share
- Partner with more organizations that amplify Black voices and support the Black community
For those in the Bay Area, here is a list of Black-owned restaurants and other businesses to consider supporting.
- Reach out to and engage with the Black student population on campus.
At UC Berkeley, Black individuals comprise less than 3% of the total student population. As such, we recognize our responsibility in needing to make our nonprofit more widely known and accessible in order to foster a more diverse and inclusive team.
For transparency’s sake, we would also love to provide a monetary contribution; however, following our recent COVID-19 fundraiser, we are currently not in the financial position to do so. With that said, please engage with us on how we could further use our platform. We want to do our part in contributing to change.
Though we have reached the end of this article, we are in no way at the end of this fight against anti-Black racism, or racism itself. Today is Juneteenth. On a day that is meant to celebrate the end of slavery in the US, we are still at unrest and battling with the remnants of the ways slavery manifests today. More than the limited power and influence of our words and more than the temporary relief money can bring, may we recognize the Almighty power of God. In due time He will return and justice will prevail. So keep on!