Alliance offers condolences, issues call to act

by Michael-Ray Mathews

In light of recent events targeting Jewish and African American people in Jeffersontown, Ky., and Pittsburgh, Pa., we – the Alliance of Baptists – are once again compelled to express our shared pain and solidarity with oppressed peoples and communities.

We offer condolences to the families of the 11 individuals killed Oct. 27 at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue – Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, Irving Younger – and to the families of two killed Oct. 24 at a Louisville, Ky.-area Kroger store – Maurice Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones.

We deplore these acts of violence and the narratives that give rise to these acts.

We stand in compassionate solidarity with our kindred in Jewish and African American communities and with houses of worship where people seek peace and sanctuary. It has been reported that the assailant in the Kentucky shooting tried unsuccessfully to enter First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown, a historic African American congregation, before his attack at the grocery store.

We call upon Alliance of Baptists members to reaffirm their relationships among Jewish and African American family members, neighbors and friends. We urge Alliance congregations and all of our partners to engage in public acts of solidarity in this critical season.

Our solidarity with our Jewish and African American kindred also is intertwined with our love for many targeted communities in our society, including black, brown, Asian, indigenous, LGBTQ, Muslim, Sikh, immigrant and poor communities.

In the face of white nationalism, we reaffirm our commitment to a radical kinship to all of God's children. And, we ask all people of faith and moral courage to both understand and dismantle the interlocking oppressions that separate and dehumanize whole communities.

Michael-Ray Mathews is president of the Alliance of Baptists board of directors and director of clergy organizing for Faith in Action (formerly PICO National Network).

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