ACPE Responds to Systemic Racism and Injustice

Let sadness become determination.
     - His Holiness the Dalai Lama

June 2, 2020

What has been happening this week, has been happening this year, this decade, this century, this half-millenium. We all must put our shoulders to the task of stopping the wholesale slaughter of African American people.

In the short time since ACPE educators, chaplains, psychotherapists, and staff named our grief and anger over the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, we are faced with the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd as a result of police violence.

We are shaped by different spiritual and ethical traditions, trained to different forms of work, living in different communities, and we are all trained to ask “why?”: why this and why now? Why this motivation? Why this behavior? We can use that potent tool to end the violence arising from the toxic mix of white supremacy and anti-black racism. And we must all respond.

Black people, indigenous people, and people of color have been speaking the truth of their oppression and marginalization for the entirety of the complicated existence of the United States. The health disparities revealed once more by COVID-19’s impact demonstrate the systemic injustice and lack of access to the goods of society that implicit bias and racism instigate and maintain. The weariness and rage in our communities of color are palpable.

White people have both responded and failed to respond in myriad ways, and yet it continues to be clear that white people have a deep responsibility to right the wrongs of the insidious and pernicious effects of racism and white supremacy. What is needed is to give up the luxury of silence, of apathy, of inaction.

Below are links to anti-racism resources, and ACPE's Anti-Bias Task Force is working on further resources to support this work. But we don’t need to tell you – resources are and have been plentiful for educating ourselves and taking action. Let whatever you are feeling – rage, fear, weariness, grief – become determination. Lives continue to be at stake.

Suggested Reading

  • Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice, by Paul Kivel
  • How to Be an Anti-Racist, by Ibram X. Kendi
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, by Robin Diangelo
  • Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Olua
  • Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color-Blindness, by Michelle Alexander
  • White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, by Tim Wise
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race, by Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • Witnessing Whiteness, by Shelly Tochluk
  • killing rage: Ending Racism, by bell hooks
  • The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin
  • Learning to Be White: Money, Race and God in America, by Rev. Thandeka
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson


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