Statement from the Social Justice Task Force

The Social Justice Task Force of First United Methodist Church Baraboo stands in solidarity with our black and brown brothers and sisters in protesting and condemning racial violence, injustice and racism in all its many forms and manifestations. As a predominantly white congregation, we accept our complicity, unintentional as it may be, in the preservation of the status quo which unfairly benefits the white skinned among us while harming the lives and prospects of all others. We recognize the illness of white supremacy and vow to work to overcome the inequities in our society by taking responsibility to understand the plight of those affected, helping to educate others and actively challenging the structures and attitudes that underpin racism.

Hear these words from one of our FUMC families and some of our Social Justice Task Force members:

“…the last 10 days have been incredibly difficult for us as a family. Like millions, we cried watching George Floyd’s murder. But then we reflected. Truly reflected on what this means for those in our skin. As you know, John and I both grew up in Kenya. And even though we are American citizens now, we haven’t always felt the pain of the African American because we only know of their history from what we’ve read in books. We don’t have stories from grandparents to refer to when we think of their plight. We’ve callously thrown out the phrase that ‘if things get bad here, we can always go back home.’
“But we have a daughter now. And Robeya is American, through and through. African American. We marched in protests for Trayvon, for Eric Garner and so many more. But we now understand the pain. We know that we can raise a well-mannered, kind daughter, who is excellent in sports, and attends the best schools, who knows how to behave ‘properly’ with the police, but all this might not matter. Because she, in fact, will still be a black kid in America. And some people will choose to see ONLY that.
“And so, we thank you and the members of FUMC for speaking out. Those that we know, and countless others that I am sure we don’t. Thank you for protesting peacefully, and for understanding that for others perhaps, the pain might be so deep that literally breaking glass might be the only way to feel. Thank you for living every day with intentionality, open and willing to take even the smallest of actions in the direction of positive social change. Change starts from within, and emanates out to those closest to us, and beyond!
Blessings, Aggy, John and Robeya!”
Aggy Kainett Lomurut

“I don’t pretend to know how to make this right. But we each must do what we can. For white folks like me, that means getting educated about white privilege and the many forms of racism faced by persons of color. It means reaching out and listening and accepting that I might be contributing to institutional racism in ways I’m not even aware of. It means standing up for folks who are being mistreated and prioritizing social justice issues when voting. There is always more to learn. There is always more to do. As the saying goes: If not now, then when? If not us, then who?” Carol Olson

“We must challenge ourselves and our country to tear away the veil of the collective denial of our country’s deeply rooted racism and culture of violence and subjugation towards black and brown people. We must see it, name it and do everything in our power to seek justice and transformation. Through the hands of Christ, our faith must manifest love by action. We have to be better by doing better.” Jill Ellinwood

“To truly eradicate racism, white people, such as ourselves, will all have to do the real work of looking inward. We have had very different experiences throughout our lives than persons of color have. We are going to need to examine our own blind spots and recognize that we too have implicit bias. We need to recognize that we are deeply invested in a system that benefits ourselves and have been conditioned to see it as fair.” Michael Lutz