***EXTENDED DEADLINE: We've decided to keep the letter open for additional sign-ons until Friday, September 15.***
To our Sisters and Brothers in Charlottesville,
We are a faith-based group of environmentalists who are praying with you in your time of grief. We offer these sentiments as a "Balm in Gilead—to make your wounded whole."
We are heartbroken over the events we witnessed this past weekend in Charlottesville. We are deeply troubled by the hatred and violence which led to the senseless death of Heather Heyer, who courageously went to Charlottesville to replace hatred with love and to call for the dismantling of white supremacy. We offer our prayers and sympathy to her family, friends, and community, and we are grateful for her life and commitment to the work of justice. We also grieve with all Virginians over the deaths of Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot, Berke M. M. Bates and hold their families in prayer, asking for comfort at their loss in the line of duty.
We work every day to advocate for justice, focusing specifically on environmental policies and laws that will protect clean air and water for Virginians. We also work to protect the wonderful gift of the creation, and we do so as an act of worship and gratefulness. These efforts are tightly linked to intersecting justice issues, which impact all of our lives. White supremacy has been called America’s original sin, an ideology that is built on a myth of created superiority of white Europeans and their descendants over all others. We are aware of the many ways in which white supremacy’s tentacles hold our laws, policies, and public debate in a death grip, preventing common sense progress toward justice and equal quality of life for all on this planet. We are painfully aware of the scourge of environmental racism in Virginia, which disproportionately subjects communities of color to polluted air, water, and land.
The ideology that sources white supremacy is a dehumanizing vision that deems Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Native Americans, Africans and African Americans, Latinos and Latin Americans, Asians and Asian Americans, as well as LGBTQ people as subhuman. This myth also makes the rest of creation subject to its caprice, as it supplants the Creator’s purpose for all life with the will of a few. We repudiate this myth.
As people of faith, we commit our efforts toward good works to protect the beautiful gift of life given to us through creation and to the diverse humanity on this planet. We commit ourselves anew on behalf of all Virginians to resist the exploitation and destruction of the environment, to encourage reduction of life-threatening carbon pollution, to insist on renewable energy sources, to extend sustainable practices to faith communities, and to ensure environmental and civil justice for all earth’s inhabitants through the law. We move forward with the faith that this vision of justice and shared abundance will come to fruition when people of goodwill work together with courage and love.
Signed,Antioch Baptist ChurchCreation Care Team of Blacksburg Presbyterian ChurchDelaware Interfaith Power & LightEarth Ministry / Washington Interfaith Power & Light Iowa Interfaith Power & LightNorth Carolina Interfaith Power & LightSustaining WayVermont Interfaith Power & LightVirginia Interfaith Power & LightWest Virginia Interfaith Power and Light
Rob MartinChristiane RiedererVirginia BroadbeckRebecca HeltoFr. Jim Arsenault