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If One Part Suffers: Our Commitment to Fighting Racism and Injustice

JUNE 2020

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by Experience Mission

We cannot and should not be silent on the issue of racial injustice in our country. As we seek to be an organization modeled after the life and teachings of Jesus, we have seen firsthand the results of systemic racist systems and histories in communities across the U.S., and we want to be part of the radical, challenging work of bringing equality, dignity, and justice to people and places who are hurting.

As an organization whose staff is predominantly white, we acknowledge that we have so much to learn and extend our deepest regret and apology if undue harm has been perpetrated as a result of our blindspots. We acknowledge the history of colonialism, white savior-ism, and unintentional harm that has at times been associated with short-term missions. We believe there is so much more that can be done through the ways we engage and train volunteers to serve and come alongside people and communities in the future.

As an organization that mobilizes many majority-white churches into minority communities, we realize and acknowledge the unique weight we carry to be both learners and educators. We have always sought to "do better" when it comes to loving, serving, and dignifying people in vulnerable communities where we serve. Stepping into the lives of others is a privilege we take seriously and seek to approach with humility. We know all too well the harm that can be done or perpetuated when we rush in with our own agenda or close our eyes to injustice.

We acknowledge the American Church’s historical role—particularly those in predominantly white settings—in supporting or perpetuating unjust systems while not seeking unity and justice for all people created in God’s image. We lament the prejudice or silence of followers of Jesus who have seen injustice and said or done nothing to stop it.

We also acknowledge that none of us can adequately show up and love our black and brown neighbors overseas without first loving and advocating for our BIPOC neighbors down the street. Change starts at home, with each and every one of us committing to love our neighbors of all races, nationalities, and faiths as we love ourselves.

Lastly, we acknowledge the weight that these statements carry for white, black, and brown communities, and we recognize that large-scale systemic change is never easy—often more like trying to steer a large ship than simply walking in a new direction. But we believe the work is necessary and important, and we do not wish to be silent or static.

This is our humble commitment to people of color experiencing oppression and injustice in our country: We vow to continue to play a role as learners as well as educators. To continue to steer our missions programs and training toward a better, more inclusive, and anti-racist position. To continue to seek better hiring, recruiting, and sending practices until our organization and volunteers represent ALL people and there truly is no "us and them" to speak of. To be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry as we work toward a future where all people are treated the same, with the justice and dignity that God intended — especially black, brown, and indigenous people who have so often been mistreated, left out or forgotten.

In seeking to DO JUSTICE, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, we feel compelled to continue this work until there is an end to racism, inequality, and unjust systems that are the opposite of the heart of Jesus.

To black communities, indigenous communities, and people of color everywhere who have experienced trauma after trauma, we humbly submit that there is still a long way to go and much for us to learn. We ache with you. “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26)⁣ ⁣

To people who may be new to these issues, we invite you to listen and learn along with us, and pray that God would open your eyes and hearts to pain and injustice wherever it exists.

Thank you,

The EM Staff Team

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