Manual of Procedure Appendix G: Declaration by Baltimore Yearly Meeting as an Anti-Racist Faith Community Approved August 3, 2019
In struggling with how to ensure that our Yearly Meeting is an anti-racist faith community, we have come to some convictions.
We Aspire To Recognize And Affirm Diversity As A Means To Truth
We Friends are of many skin colors, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, stages of life, and socially constructed racial identities. We are all seeking the Spirit’s presence in our lives, and in our life together. We recognize that some of us have experienced oppression and marginalization in ways that others have not. We aspire to live as members of the blessed community, which is one of liberation, equity, and great diversity across all differences.1
We Approach Racism as a Virus to Be Healed
Simply “addressing” racism is too weak. Believing that we can simply end racism is too optimistic. Our response to racism must be to challenge it, to confront it, to correct it, and to heal this societal infection.2
We Are Committed to Becoming More Inclusive and Welcoming to All
We are committed to discerning how our Meetings at all levels can be more inclusive and welcoming to all, can encourage participation and leadership among all Friends, and can build an anti-racist, multicultural community.3
We Strive To Do More To Build And Maintain Trust
We will focus upon being more authentic (sharing the real me), logical (being rigorous in my thinking), and empathic (my being in it for others).4
We Seek to Ensure That We Do Not Benefit Some at the Expense of Others
We are encouraged by a practice that was adopted by the Board of Trustees at Pendle Hill Conference and Retreat Center several years ago to vet each decision using the following queries:
- How might this decision affect people from other cultures or those within the same culture who have different experiences, perceptions, belief systems, and perspectives from our own?
- To what degree have privilege, class, stereotypes, assumptions, and our ability to include other perspectives affected this decision? Will this decision promote inclusiveness, allow equal access, and welcome those we perceive as different from ourselves?
- How might this decision advance Pendle Hill’s goals of promoting diversity, fostering justice, and creating the Beloved Community for all people?
A Major Step Toward Becoming More Anti-Racist is To Test Decisions We Make
Using queries to examine how our decisions may promote inclusiveness, allow equal access, and welcome those we perceive as different from ourselves could, we believe, guide us in our deliberations. It will also make us more accountable for our actions and less likely to be satisfied with a statement that sounds laudatory, but proves empty or even harmful. In that regard, we seek to always be able to answer the following queries:
- How could this decision affect those who have been harmed by racist behavior?
- To what degree have privilege, class, stereotypes, assumptions, and our ability to include other perspectives affected this decision? Will this decision promote equity, diversity, and inclusiveness? Will it enable us to be more friendly and whole?
- How will we provide opportunities for those most likely to be directly affected by our decision to influence that decision?
- How does this decision support the declaration of our Yearly Meeting that we are an anti-racist faith community?
In Love and Peace, We Can Live as Friends
We will reach out to and welcome others we do not yet know, but who are God’s children, as we are. This must be done with warmth, compassion, love, and truth so it is rightly ordered (has integrity) and reciprocated in love and peace.
Further, we will include friends-to-be in our activities and welcome their questions and differences in understanding and action so as to develop friendships and become a whole community, richer due both to our more diverse composition, perspectives, and strengths and to the truth and love we have grown and used in the process.
1 Baltimore Yearly Meeting Statement of Vision (2016, adopted as revised)
2 Baltimore Yearly Meeting Epistle (2017 Annual Session)
3 Baltimore Yearly Meeting Epistle (2018 Annual Session)
4 Pettus, C. (2018). A Descriptive Analysis of the Views of People of Color Regarding Building a Bigger and Better Worship Community (A report submitted to the Growing Diverse Leadership Committee of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting)