anti-racism

White Mennonite static

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The Mennonite church has the opportunity to become a dependable partner in the work of dismantling racism.

The church as a whole has a record of racism—both overt and covert—that has been attested to by generations of Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) community members both within and outside the church.

‘Be on our side’

Johise Namwira, a human rights activist and member of Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship in Winnipeg, takes part in a MennoMedia ‘adaptive church webinar’ addressing racism in the church. (Screenshot by Janet Bauman)

Participants in the MennoMedia ‘adaptive church webinar’ addressing racism in the church are pictured from left to right, top row: Dennis R. Edwards, Johise Namwira and Amy Gingerich; middle row: Chantelle Todman, Jerrell Williams and Leah Fulton; and bottom: Delonte Gholston. (Screenshot by Janet Bauman)

Acknowledging that “the church has been awakened and reawakened to racial injustice in our midst after the death of George Floyd,” MennoMedia, an agency of Mennonite Church Canada and MC U.S.A., dedicated one of its ‘adaptive church webinars’ to addressing racism in churches.

We shouldn’t be colour blind

I’ve been embarrassed of my heritage for most of my life. I’m the son of immigrants who came from Germany and the Philippines. Even though I was born in Canada, I know that to many people, I look like I came from somewhere else.

That’s why I’ve always cringed when people ask me where I’m from. It’s never about where my home is but rather where my family came from. Saying “Canada” was never good enough, and that often made me feel like an outsider.

Learn, love, advocate

The Barkman family takes part in a rally in Manila on Feb. 24, 2018 to protest the police brutality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. (Photo courtesy of Christina Bartel Barkman)

I was in Whistler, B.C., last week with my husband and kids, and we joined a Black Lives Matter protest in the village. My eight-year-old reminded us that we used to do this often when we lived in Manila in the Philippines.

Disillusionment and hope

People dance at a Black Lives Matter protest in Washington, D.C. on June 6, 2020. (Photo by Clay Banks/Unsplash)

When I preach I often reference verses in the Bible that talk about God’s intention that all nations, languages and tribes are called to worship God through Jesus. The Book of Acts is the story of the Jewish disciples relying on the power of the Holy Spirit and learning that the new church is relevant to a world much bigger than they ever imagined. 

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