Equity is the quality of non-violence

April 12, 2021

By: Northern Piedmont District

Equity is the quality of non-violence.  This sentence packs a punch to how we live our days within the community of faith. Quality of non-violence speaks to the depths of how we think, react and develop as a disciple. In the fall of 2020, Northern Piedmont District communities had to think, react and form as ones who understood the past and strive to change our former violent ways of racism. The vaccine was coming into our communities, and how would we bring equity and honesty to our discipleship?

We needed to remember and learn how vaccines brought violence and trauma to our communities in the past. We knew we must bring the quality of non-violence to our ways of healing from the generations of trauma.  We began with zoom conversations about the vaccine. We held open forums between communities of color and health departments.  Communities needed to recognize past violence with vaccines and the honesty of how the vaccines would impact their families and communities in 2021.

As the vaccinations came into our communities, we saw the past repeat itself with the lack of equity for all communities to receive their shot. We had honest conversations about the equity of vaccination appointments with the local health departments. With love, we spoke the truth of how communities of color were not getting a “shot to get their shot.”  After conversations and authentic partnership, our churches collected names and numbers of persons who wanted the vaccine but lacked the venues to get an appointment.  

Our next step was hosting vaccination sites across counties with honesty and support from the health departments in the hopes of learning from our past.  One month later, we started a more extensive effort with FEMA. We hosted vaccination appointment sites in communities with little opportunity to register due to a lack of information, technology, or diverse cultural barriers.  We provided one-on-one conversations to make sure everyone felt comfortable and had access to get their shot.

What we learned through these ministries:

  1. Listen for all sheep to be counted. We searched in and around our communities to make sure all who wanted the shot could get an appointment. Listening is the only option for all to be heard and known.
  2. Speak up to violence with a way to change our practices. When we found out about the lack of equity, we spoke to our health department - not to complain, but with suggestions for ways we could support equity.
  3. Kindness spreads. When one person experiences an opportunity to get a shot, they will share it with a friend or family member. Our appointments and vaccination opportunities spread like the Gospel.  Now we must continue our relationship with new friends forward to grow the faith.
  4. We all want to find healing.  Whether it was an educational conversation about the vaccine or opening the doors to get a shot, we all want healing for ourselves and our neighbor.
Our collaboration brought the quality of non-violence to our communities and our own discipleship. This article does not name all the saints who made the Gospel come to life in our district. This article does not speak to all the wisdom we have learned on the way.  Yet the next step toward healing our communities is living the quality of non-violence as a daily devotion.  This is what The Beloved Community is about.  Beloved Community is not a destination, yet is the way……  the way we think, react, and form our faith.

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