New Ways Ministry’s Anti-Racism Commitment

The following is a statement released by New Ways Ministry.

The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and many other Black people this spring are tragic and unjust. New Ways Ministry affirms that Black Lives Matter, and we call on all of our supporters and friends to do the same. Our Catholic mission of working for justice for LGBTQ people calls us to speak out for all LGBTQ people, and to seek liberation for every oppressed person. We cannot be satisfied with eradicating injustice towards LGBTQ people while racial injustice thrives and spreads unchecked. As Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

As Catholics, we are called by our faith to be actively anti-racist in support of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities. We are particularly concerned with the lives of transgender People of Color whose lives and well-being are constantly and disproportionately endangered by racism, white privilege, and transphobia. We recognize, too, that it was queer Black women who propelled Black Lives Matter into our consciousness as a nation, just as it was BIPOC transgender women who initiated the LGBTQ liberation movement at Stonewall in 1969.

The recent killings have energized the Black Lives Matter movement because the lives of Black people killed this spring are but the latest in a long line of Black deaths, often at the hands of police officers, which white people shamefully too often ignored. The recent deaths and the protests that have arisen in their wake are calling our nation to a reckoning, long overdue. While the individuals who kill Black people are responsible for their deaths, all white people must take responsibility, too. One of the first things white people must do is listen to the stories and experience of their Black neighbors. The culture of white supremacy and racist systems in the United States and elsewhere are not autonomous forces, but ones which are sustained by the decisions, actions, and lifestyles of white people, who are the beneficiaries of these unequal systems of power because of white privilege.

Neither in its origins in a slaveholding society or in its current actions is our Catholic Church innocent. Rather, we as Catholics are called to address how the very institutions and structures that we hold dear as Catholics participate in injustice, and to allow BIPOC Catholics’ experiences to lead us toward lament, repentance, and conversion.

Racism and white privilege have made Black lives expendable for centuries. This needs to end. In this historical moment, we declare unequivocally that Black Lives Matter. We at New Ways Ministry commit to examining our lives, listening intently to BIPOC voices as our guides, repenting of our complicity, and working towards Black liberation as an integral aspect of our work for LGBTQ equality.