As you all know, recently Northminster Presbyterian Church of Evanston's Black Lives Matter sign at 2515 Central Park, was vandalized, along with smaller signs that had been placed on the lawn by community members. The signs were found in a nearby garbage can in the alley and were restored to their places.
The following is a letter from Evanston clergy in response to that incident.
As Evanston communities of faith, we affirm the inherent dignity and worth of all people as created and beloved children of God. Racism, anti-blackness, and their violent and discriminatory manifestations in our society have been well documented since before the United States became a nation. Although the form and substance of this racism has changed over time, it is clear that our society still does not accord equal worth to each person. This is unacceptable and must change.
We recognize that systemic racial prejudice and institutionalized white supremacy continue to afflict our society. We acknowledge the validity of the pain and anger that have been expressed in response to the killings of unarmed African Americans by police officers.
Throughout history, people of faith have been called upon to defend and uplift the dignity of persons whose lives are threatened by adversity and societal ills. Systemic racism, implicit bias, and incidents of violence call into question whether our society truly values Black lives. It is therefore incumbent upon us to publicly proclaim the humanity, beauty, gifts, and worth of Black people.
Many houses of worship in Evanston are displaying Black Lives Matter signs as a symbol of our commitment to the ongoing work of making anti-racism a priority within our own institutions and our beloved community.
For those of us who are Christian, the choice to display these signs on church properties on Christmas Eve is particularly appropriate, as the holiday commemorates our belief in the importance of human experience on earth and the need to alleviate burdens and barriers in one another's lives.
For all of our faith communities, publicly displaying Black Lives Matter signs is a way of recognizing that the discrimination and suffering are ongoing and conveys our commitment to intensify our communal work to end racism in all its forms—in Evanston and throughout our country.
Rev. Michael Kirby, Northminster Presbyterian
Rabbi Andrea London, Beth Emet The Free Synagogue
Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors, Second Baptist Evanston
Rev. Kat Banakis, St. Luke's Episcopal Church Evanston
Rabbi Rachel Weiss, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation - JRC
Rev. Charles A. de Kay, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church - Evanston, IL
Rev. Eileen Wiviott, Unitarian Church of Evanston
Rev. Jessica Gregory, Northminster Presbyterian Church
Pastor Charlotte E. Tsuyuki Lehman, Reba Place Church
Sue Murphy, Executive Director, Interfaith Action of Evanston
Rev. Kalif Crutcher, M.Div, New Hope CME Church
Fr Robert Oldershaw, Emeritus St Nicholas Parish
Rev. Ann Ohlrogge Johnson, Northminster Presbyterian Church
Rev. Scott Castello, Grace Lutheran Evanston on behalf of Grace Lutheran Church
Rev. Dr. Debra K. Bullock, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
Asayo Horibe, the Buddhist Council of the Midwest
Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler, Beth Emet The Free Synagogue