From Churches Together in Britain and Ireland…
October, as we all should know, is Black History Month (BHM) and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland will be celebrating this special month with the publication of its Racial Justice Champions: Volume 1 resource. This publication consists of 25 women and 25 men of faith (from a variety of ethnicities), who have pioneered racial justice in church and society over the last 25 years.
BHM is very much about writing back into history those events and activities that have conveniently been overlooked or deliberately ignored. Racial justice is something that falls into this category. Prior to the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, many churches were reluctant to engage in racial justice work – the sort of work that challenges systems and structures that hinder real equality and inclusion. It was left to those brave men and women who are featured in this resource to encourage churches to ‘do the right thing!’ While racial justice now appears to be on everyone’s lips, akin to the climate emergency, it is important to recognise those heroes and sheroes who ‘fought the good fight’ when it was unfashionable to do so. Indeed, they often-faced tremendous opposition in doing so. It is therefore necessary to honour these individuals; any racial justice progress we now see in the church is a result of their sterling efforts.
The history found in this resource speaks of the British churches’ struggles to address racial justice. As such, it is British history. And much like Racial Justice Sunday (RJS), BHM is everyone’s business – it tells of the synergies and efforts of Black, White and Asian Christians in the pursuit of racial justice. Finally, I would argue that this history, much like RJS, includes subjects and topics that are worthy of celebration and study throughout the year, and not just for 31 days in a calendar.
Richard Reddie, Director of Justice and Inclusion, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI).
This resource, for Black History Month, celebrates contributions of often-unsung individuals who spoke about racial justice when it was unfashionable.