As United Methodists, we take baptismal vows promising to “accept the freedom God gives us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever ways they present themselves.” Therefore, we see it as our duty to speak out against the injustices we witness today. The death of George Floyd added yet another name to the list of Black people unjustly killed by police. This horrific incident is just one example of the systemic racism present in all aspects of our country since its founding, and justice is long overdue. We at the Wesley Foundation at UVA understand that racism is historically and structurally grounded sin that hinders our personal relationships with Jesus Christ and our UVA community.
The Wesley Foundation’s calling is toserve God’s diverse community here at the University of Virginia, and we have previously and proudly proclaimed what we feel in our hearts: that every person is wonderfully made, valued, and loved by God. At this moment, it is important that we are explicit that Black lives matter: to the world, to the body of Christ, and to the community at the Wesley Foundation at UVA.
We also understand that simply stating our support is not enough. We condemn white supremacy and commit ourselves to anti-racist work alongside our Black siblings in Christ. We are proud of the members of our community that are speaking up, educating themselves, donating to organizations, signing petitions, and participating in protests. We want our Black siblings to know that we see you. We hear you. And we stand beside you in the fight for justice and equality.
God commands us not only to “love our neighbors as ourselves,” (Mark 12:31) but also to “speak on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable” (Proverbs 31:6). The Wesley Foundation at UVA will use our voice on grounds to amplify the voices of the Black community. We will work to understand their unique experiences. We also know that racism is deeply ingrained in our University’s and our denomination’s past and present, and we must understand and utilize our privilege to create a better community for those they have marginalized. We know that we have a lot to learn, but we want to be clear that we are learning, growing, and listening. We are committed to doing better and doing more to uphold our responsibility to support our Black neighbors at UVA and beyond.
In solidarity and love,
The Wesley Foundation at UVA