Original submitted by the National Leaders Council of the American Ethical Union, with amendments adopted at the 2016 Assembly of the American Ethical Union.
Whereas a system of advantage and disadvantage exists based on racial categories socially constructed for control and advantage, and this system is entrenched in the economic, social and political structures in the United States today, and
Whereas this Systemic Racism has been woven into the fabric of American society through inherited and continuing bigotry and attitudes about racial superiority which may be conscious or unconscious, and through legislation and public policies, and
Whereas Systemic Racism results in racial injustice that actively oppresses “people of color,” denying them influence and opportunity, while bestowing on “white people” unearned privileges and advantages which make them part of the system, and
Whereas at this time, the momentum of history is in the direction of racial injustice especially targeting people of African descent, of Native American heritage, and of Latinx heritage, and
Whereas a racialized United States has a global impact, and Whereas we acknowledge the effects of those injustices in our own Ethical Societies, including hesitation to understand and correct racial privilege, and including having no professional leaders in the movement who identify as “people of color,” and
Whereas ascribing worth and dignity to everyone is an essential component of many ethical codes and actions, and is a key value within our Ethical Movement,
Therefore the American Ethical Union calls for its member Societies and individuals within them to actively participate in the dismantling and eradication of Systemic Racism, with the goal of equal rights and opportunity for all and the establishment of real justice in our nation.
We believe that tools for this include reflection and self-examination by individuals, systemic analysis, and education aimed at the wider public. We deem these efforts a personal moral responsibility essential to the worth and dignity of every person and essential to social transformation.
We also believe that tools for dismantling and eradicating racism include participating in protests, civil disobedience, and other efforts for change and justice, keeping at the center of such efforts the experiences and leadership of “people of color.”
We therefore urge all Ethical Societies to encourage and support deep self- examination by members to discover and address their own participation in this system of inherited attitudes and privilege, and to encourage others to do the same.
We therefore also urge the American Ethical Union and all Ethical Societies to actively seek out “people of color” for volunteer leadership, staff positions, and for professional leadership training.
We therefore also call for members to work in solidarity with the vision of the Black Lives Matter movement, supporting efforts to promote racial justice through organizations such as Campaign Zero, working for criminal justice reform, and SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice), a multi-racial social justice coalition.
Note: the terms “people of color” and “white people” are in quotation marks to avoid reifying racial categories. For information on the term Latinx, see this 2015 article: Shift toward use of Latinx