There has been an outpouring of grief and anger around the world at the killing of George Floyd in police custody in the US. As we lament his death, we are also conscious of the many other men and women who have been victims of racial injustice and violence. Each person a child of God, each person unique and loved.
Systemic racism is not just present in institutions, it’s in the wider economy too. Our world is weighted in favour of the rich, and white privilege often goes hand in hand with the privilege of wealth. Nwamaka Agbo, a leader in the field of restorative economics, writes:
“As income inequality grows and climate disruption intensifies, it is clear that our economic and climate systems are at a crisis point that will devastate communities far and wide. Unfortunately, low-income, vulnerable communities of colour that have already suffered decades of economic alienation, and extraction of wealth and labour by the 1% and people in power, will be hurt first and worst by these converging catastrophes.”
Many people are looking for ways to challenge institutional racism and economic injustice and to stand alongside affected communities. How do we go beyond supportive words and statements?
In resources for this year’s Racial Justice Sunday, Michael Jagessar wrote:
“Discipleship as anti-racist living is a proactive way of seeing and being in life. It is an invitation to share in the transforming ‘economy of fullness of life for all.’”
What might that discipleship look like when it comes to the decisions we make with money and resources, whether individually or in our churches? If we have few resources, what other practical actions can we take? Here are a few suggestions:
- Give generously to organisations that are tackling racism. Donate to Resourcing Racial Justice, a new UK wide-funding pool to support individuals and communities working towards racial justice.
- Climate justice and racial justice are intricately linked. Communities in the Global South are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change, due to actions of rich countries in the Global North. Is your money funding fossil fuel industries? Use the Earth Day Switch tool to check your bank and your energy provider.
- Do organisations that you buy products or services from voluntarily publish data about their ethnicity pay gap? If they don’t, contact them and urge them to be transparent and to proactively work towards closing that gap.
- Stand in solidarity with Indigenous and BAME communities by supporting the work of organisations like London Mining Network and campaign with them to hold London financed mining companies to account for the human rights abuses and environmental destruction they cause around the globe.
- Watch out for companies that don’t match their actions to their words and consider spending your money elsewhere. Ethical Consumer highlights the criticisms levelled against Amazon in the wake of their recent #BlackLivesMatter statement, including mistreatment of workers and advertising on white supremacist media.
Through our programme Money Makes Change we aim to help Christians explore how to make decisions with their finances that can help bridge the gap between the world as it is, and the world as it should be.
Eric Collins, chief executive of Impact X, a black-owned and managed venture capital fund said recently:
“You should always be thinking about: are the things that you’re doing – your actions as well as your financial resources – helping to challenge or reinforcing the world that you don’t want to see?”
It matters what you do with your money and your church’s money, because Black Lives Matter.