Public Statement from the Faculty of Garrett-Evangelical
June 2, 2020
Authored by the Black faculty and affirmed by faculty members of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
All around us are forces that continue unabated to dehumanize and destroy black lives and the lives of other people of color in the United States. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery are the most recent victims of a longstanding regime of violence. We must say their names.
At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic and its overwhelming impact on Black and other communities of color have highlighted deep and widespread social and economic inequities evidenced by higher infection rates, disproportionate representation of black and brown people as “essential workers” and the lack of equitable health care. Taken together with militarized police, the cruelty of ICE detention facilities, overcrowded prisons and underfunded schools, these are just a few of the ways we have seen the so-called “American dream” become based on creating nightmares for non-white people in the United States.
These inequities are based on the pervasive sin of white supremacy that fuels anti-blackness and which have been central aspects of the United States’ colonial and slaveholding history. We believe this sin of white supremacy continues to permeate our country, from boardrooms to city streets and will remain in place until we collectively work with and for one another.
The truth is that our institution has not been an exception to the entanglements and terrors of such hegemonic policies. As faculty members, we recognize and acknowledge the racism that subtly shaped irregularities in our recent presidential search process and the fact that those irregularities were antithetical to values and commitments we seek to hold as an institution. We remain proud of Garrett’s historical commitment to peace, justice, and equity, and we re-commit ourselves to making this seminary a place where those truths are both evident and embodied.
As a place of theological formation, we decry the forms of Christianity that uphold the need for violence to protect some lives while subduing others. This is not wholeness. This is not life. Instead we seek to live into the confession of Mary, who declared the birth of the messiah with these words:
51 God has shown strength with God’s arm; God has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 God has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
53 God has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
54 God has helped God’s servant Israel, in remembrance of God’s mercy,
55 according to the promise God made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
As members of the faculty, we pray that, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we may create spaces of human flourishing in the midst of white supremacy’s commitment to death. We pledge also to continue the legacy of Garrett-Evangelical to work actively for equal justice for all.
Black Faculty and Authors of Public Statement
Cheryl B. Anderson
Gennifer B. Brooks
Taurean J. Webb
E. Byron Anderson
Nancy E. Bedford
Barry E. Bryant
Jaeyeon Lucy Chung
Charles H. Cosgrove
Julie A. Duncan
Timothy R. Eberhart
Dong Hyeon Jeong
Wonhee Anne Joh
Anna M. Johnson
Débora B. A. Junker
Virginia A. Lee
G. Brooke Lester
James L. Papandrea
Lallene J. Rector
Luis R. Rivera
Mark R. Teasdale
Mai-Anh Le Tran
Sara A. Williams
Osvaldo D. Vena