One glance at the docket of the Race and Gender Justice Committee (RGJ) reveals the historic sweep and connection of its 10 scheduled items of business.
Beyond identifying past oppression and exploitation by the church of marginalized communities and individuals, the committee’s commissioners and delegates will look for ways to achieve restorative justice going forward.
Intersectionality is one concept linking items — race, class and gender are overlapping systems of discrimination, and it is not enough to consider one in isolation of the others.
The committee will examine resolutions from national church advocates on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit People [RGJ-02]; Reproductive Justice for Black Maternal/Birthing People and Infant Mortality [RGJ-03]; Transwomen of Color [RGJ-04]; the Lack of Installed Pastoral Leadership in People of Color Congregations in the PC(USA) [RGJ-07]; Race and Reparative Justice [RGJ-10] and Racism as a Public Health Crisis [RGJ-11].
Overtures from mid councils include Offering an Apology to African Americans for the Sin of Slavery and Its Legacy [RGJ-08] and Apologies and Reparations for the Racist Closure of the Memorial Presbyterian Church, Juneau, Alaska [RGJ-09].
Two reports were submitted by a special committee or task force formed at a previous Assembly: the Report of the Special Committee on Racism Truth and Reconciliation [RGJ-12] and the Report from the Disparities Experienced by Black Women and Girls Task Force [RGJ-13].
View all the committee’s items here:
The Racism Truth and Reconciliation report and the overture about Memorial Presbyterian Church in Juneau call for reparations to Black and Native communities. The resolution addressing the lack of installed pastoral leadership in People of Color congregations calls for reparations as well as debt forgiveness for those congregations.
Just as the items show the intersection of different forms of discrimination, they seek remedy and repair using overlapping approaches, beginning with the naming of acts of injustice and remembering victims.
The Memorial Presbyterian Church overture and the Offering an Apology to African Americans for the Sin of Slavery overture call for official church declarations of sorrow and repentance. The resolution regarding Transwomen of Color directs co-moderators of GA226 to “read aloud on the floor of the Assembly the names of all of the transwomen of color from the United States whose murders were recorded in 2020-2021.”
At least three items call for a dedicated effort by congregations and other Presbyterian groups to study the history of white racism in their communities. The Report from the Disparities Experienced by Black Women and Girls Task Force calls for new LGBTQIA+ community grants.
The committee moderator is Willye Bryan of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan and the vice moderator is Lori Yamauchi of the Presbytery of San Francisco. Vanessa Hawkins is committee assistant and Brian Ellison parliamentarian.
The Racial and Gender Justice Committee will gather inside Louisville’s Presbyterian Center from June 23 to 25. Public sessions will be livestreamed through the GA225 website.