This statement, in Honor of Juneteenth, 2020, is presented by CARJ (The Committee Advocated for Racial Justice at United)
Friday, June 19th, marks the 155th anniversary of the day Union soldiers landing at Galveston informed the long-suffering enslaved people of Texas that they were free. Despite the fact that the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued more than two and a half years earlier, these men, women, and children were held not only illegally but immorally--denied justice, denied their release from oppression. Juneteenth celebrates the profound joy of freedom revealed that day. And it serves as a reminder of justice that is long overdue.
Justice is hard. Justice is complicated. Justice does not always come at once. But justice does come.
As a seminary community, we believe that justice delayed is justice denied. This belief is expressed in the core literature and prophetic voices of every major religion. But we also know, as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us, that "the arc of the moral Universe is long." While the practice of slavery came to an end on that June day, the immoral and tragic legacies of slavery, including economic exploitation and white supremacy, continue today. The delay of justice continues.
Today we see Black men, transgender and non-binary people, women, and children being killed in the streets and in their homes by those charged with protecting them. We see rampant voter suppression efforts in the lead-up to the fall election. We see children in Flint still unable to drink the water in their homes.We see communities of color disproportionately harmed by COVID-19 because of racial disparities in healthcare. But we know even in these challenging times, the rest of Martin Luther King, Jr’s statement brings hope: While the arc of the moral universe is long, still, it bends toward justice.
United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities is committed to the difficult, complicated work of dismantling systems of oppression and white supremacy. Following the prophetic voices of our theological ancestors and inspired by the prophets of today, we are committed to both advocacy and action in the pursuit of justice. Find out more about United’s current efforts to address white supremacy and racism in our community and our world.