by Rev. John Simon MDiv MTS BCC
APC President

Over the course of history, many have tried to qualify and define the struggle against injustice.  Scholars, philosophers, and people of faith have worked to explain why some people pursue an agenda of inequity while others make it a mission to eradicate it.  In my first presidential address to you last month, constructive feedback was given on the paucity of next steps in the 5th pillar of our strategic plan on our commitment to being an anti-bias/anti-racist organization. Within this frame and lens, I would like to share with you some challenging and provocative thoughts from others and myself on this topic as part of our recognition of Black History Month.

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

– Carl Gustav Jung

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words still echo today despite the relentless denials of systemic racism that permeates everything. We recall what Dr. King said in his famous Holt Street Address (1954) on the night of the first mass meeting, King stated:

“It’s not enough to talk about love. Love is one of the pinnacle parts of the Christian faith. There is another side called justice. And justice is really love in action. Justice is love correcting that which would work against love. Standing beside love is always justice.”

So, what needs to be faced, changed, and corrected in our membership organization regarding racism and inequities? What are we doing about it? Where do we go from here?

The following is a mapping of the present state of affairs and the hills we have yet to climb to bring more love and justice into APC.

  • Strategic partnership focus on a rubric for certification interviews with the goal to minimize subjectivity and bias.
  • A new emphasis for certification committee Presenters and Chairs focusing on being mindful of bias language and how to address these issues in real-time.
  • Ethics emphasis on addressing racism via reworking the application process and the commitment of tracking and trending these issues.
  • Plan and execute with strategic partners a methodology and member survey to ascertain the facts, allegations and substantiation of racism among our organizations.

I leave us with the challenge given by author and motivator Ralph Marston in his piece entitled, Change Your World.

If you could change the world, what would you change? If you could make a difference, what would it be? If you could live your dream, what would you do? If you could reach the stars, how would you start? If today was like no other, with every moment a special treasure, how would you spend it?

If you had a mission, when would you start? If the world was yours to nurture, how would you treat it? If you were different, how would you know? If you were creative, what would you build? If you were eloquent, what would you say? If you were strong, what would you support? If you could see tomorrow, how would it look? If you were smart, what would you think? If you were rich, what would you buy? If you were caring, how would it show? If you were you, how would you live?

I encourage each of us:

  • Be the change you want to see.
  • Change your corner of the world.
  • Make it a better place for you and me.

These are the hills we must climb together. We will not stop until we change the conversations and challenge and change processes that cause too many to suffer traumatic blows to their lives, suffering soul-harm due to delusions of greatness based on the accident of birth and the wages of social privilege.

As people of deep faith, spiritualties and praxis, I remind us all of what Dr. King said that we may have forgotten.

“Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.” 

Martin Luther King Jr., The Essential Martin Luther King, Jr.: “I Have a Dream” and Other Great Writings

Join us. Pray for our efforts. Address these issues as you see them in your shop. This is how a generation of change happens. So as radio-host, The Black Eagle, Dr. Joseph Madison always ends his daily Sirius XM morning show (channel 126), “What are you going to do about it?”