A Common Statement on Racism, Advocacy for Black Women and Girls, and the 224th General Assembly (2020)

Bruce Reyes-Chow
5 min readJun 30, 2020

From Past Moderators, Co-moderators, and Vice Moderators of The General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Predecessor Church

Dear Siblings and Friends of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),

Grace and peace in the name of Jesus Christ our Brother, Savior, and Lord! We, as past Moderators, Co-Moderators, and Vice Moderators of previous General Assemblies, issue this statement out of grave concern for what occurred during the 224th General Assembly (2020) and the work we feel is yet undone in our walk with Jesus.

We watched with great joy as the Assembly elected two capable leaders as Co-Moderators, both of whom are BIPOC (an umbrella term for Black, Indigenous, and people of color), including our denomination’s first Indigenous Moderator. We saw commissioners exhibit great enthusiasm for racial justice, even amid an abbreviated Assembly. However, we also witnessed micro- and macro- aggressions towards the Co-moderators, commissioners, corresponding members, BIPOC generally and Black women specifically in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). And, despite numerous attempts by commissioners, the 224th General Assembly adjourned without addressing the plight of Black women and girls.

As leaders who have been and continue to be deeply committed to dismantling racial and gender inequality, racial and gender inequity, and in calling out white supremacy and misogyny in the Church and in society as sin, what occurred at the 224th General Assembly was nothing short of white supremacy, white privilege, misogyny, and hypocrisy expressed as indifference, apathy, and outright inaction. These ubiquitous viruses are what is endemic in society, and, sadly, in the Church. You can well understand our moral indignation when we rightfully expected that we as a Church would have come a long way in translating our prayers and statements for #BlackLivesMatter to actual official, public actions by the Assembly that would confess, reckon with the truth, and repent.

Instead, the 224th General Assembly chose to do otherwise. The Assembly acted to defer to 2022 any consideration of Item 02–020, the Disparities Experienced by Black Women and Girls Task Force. The Assembly voted down an amendment to specifically name Black women and girls in Item 00–29, “On the Church in this Moment in…

Bruce Reyes-Chow

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