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“…in anguish of spirit I have often queried, why the lord should require me to go among a people who despise me on account of my complexion, but I have seen that it is designed to humble me, and to teach me the lesson, ‘Love your enemies, and pray for them who despitefully use you.'" - Sarah Mapps Douglass
Black lives matter. Sarah Mapps Douglass knew this from the start. As the first known African American Friend to speak out about her mistreatment in Quakerism in the 1800s, Douglass reminds us of the divine challenge to “love your enemies, and pray for them who despitefully use you.”
I am holding this reminder in my tired limbs and spirit while recovering from the police violence I faced as a protester. Last week, I joined a movement of faith and conscience demanding police reform and demilitarization in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless names both known and forgotten.
FCNL seeks a world free of war and the threat of war—and the war on Black bodies in the United States. We seek a society with equity and justice for all, knowing justice as part and parcel of peace.
Those of us who are white must come off the sidelines. We must fully acknowledge the realities of systemic racism, police violence, and rising militarism that our Black siblings, colleagues, and Friends have known and experienced for centuries. Sharing your powerful Quaker ministry on police demilitarization and reform with your members of Congress is one way to bring your witness to the fore.
As people of faith, we call on Congress to address the broken American policing system by passing the Justice in Policing Act. This legislation would ban the use of choke holds, institute a national “necessary” use of force standard, end the militarization of civilian police departments, and implement other badly needed police reforms.
Please act using the accompanying letter template, call script, and this email form. When you write your letter or email, please add a personal note of 2‐4 sentences letting your member know why you are concerned. Then, call the U.S. Congress at 202‐224‐3121 to be connected to your representative's and senators’ offices. Leave a message if they do not pick up or if you are calling after office hours.
Your letters, emails, and phone calls to Congress matter now more than ever. We invite you to join FCNL as we adapt to virtual advocacy. This month and until the pandemic disruptions are resolved, we will send Letter Writing prompts only by email. Although not gathered in person, we ask Friends to continue sending letters and emails and calling elected officials using the materials we provide.
Please consider sharing this call to action with your community list-serv and organizing virtual gatherings for collective advocacy. Learn more and get training from FCNL staff at fcnl.org/lobbyfromhome.
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