The Road to Liberation
2020 has been a year defined by crisis. Both the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing racially motivated terrorization and killings of Black people have further exposed and exacerbated the crisis we have lived with for generations. As our communities rise up to affirm that Black Lives Matter, it is time for the faith community to step decisively into the struggle.
Historically, many Black people have been negatively and disproportionately impacted by systems designed to keep them from advancing in all areas of life. It is our collective duty to fight for the liberation of Black people, understanding deep within our souls that the liberation of every person is bound up in Black liberation. We cannot afford a lack of resolve or half measures because none of us will be truly free until all Black people are free and “Black Lives Matter” is not just a declaration and a movement, but the lived reality of every Black person in our community.
At the heart of the matter is the age-old lie that some people are worth less than others – the same lie that has accommodated slavery, Jim Crow, and the modern policing and mass incarceration system. It is the lie that allows the government to rip families apart and cage children like animals. It is the lie that supports inflated police budgets while teachers use their own money from a meager salary to buy books and classroom supplies. It is the lie that justifies 1% of Americans holding nearly half of our national wealth while telling us that we can’t afford to ensure every person lives with dignity. It is the lie that emboldens those in power to ask us to praise and exalt essential workers while at the same time denying them housing, healthcare, wage increases, and basic safety. This lie undergirds the prevalence of White Supremacy within our society, permitting a wealthy elite to reap the rewards of record growth and huge tax breaks, while the vast majority of us are forced to struggle daily for a dignified way of life.
We will not abide by this lie. We will no longer accept these injustices.
Every human being is born with inherent worth. Every person in our community deserves to have a safe home and dignified means of pursuing happiness. We are liberating ourselves from the current system that treats rampant poverty, inequality, and racial violence as a norm, and we are calling on our communities and their representatives to create a new system that values and protects all people and centers the needs of the most vulnerable.
Faith in Texas envisions a world in which economic, racial, and social equity enables everyone to live in complete liberation to pursue their divine purpose and participate fully in the systems and processes that govern their lives. As long as the Black community is oppressed and under attack, this vision cannot be realized. As faith leaders, we are compelled to take bold action. We are leading our multi-faith, multi-race coalition to be full partners in the movement to divest from white supremacy, as expressed through policing, mass incarceration, and unconscionable violence. If we hope to undo the harm inflicted on Black communities we must instead construct true liberation through housing, jobs, mental health resources, and community-centered response to harm. To accomplish this, we must bring these values to bear in our elections, our city halls and county courts, and during the 2021 Texas Legislative Session.
Divest from White Supremacy
Dallas County spends over $67 million annually on its jails while spending less than $20 million on health and human services. The jail does not bring justice or address harm – it disappears people into an inhumane system and adds further trauma to our communities. It is time that we divest from incarceration and invest in true liberation through community-centered services.
During 2020 and 2021, North Texas communities should begin phasing out the current violence-driven model of policing and incarceration and reallocate funds from this harmful system to reconstruct public safety in a way that centers and upholds the dignity and safety of every person.
Invest in True Liberation
Guided by our vision for complete liberation for all people, we affirm that a person is only truly free when their livelihood is secure. During 2020 and 2021, North Texas communities should allocate funds freed from systems of white supremacy to reimagined housing, employment, and community-centered response to harm in areas that have been systematically oppressed and dispossessed by racial capitalism and white supremacy.
Dallas’ explosive growth, combined with its history of redlining, racial segregation, and lack of equitable development and housing plans, has led to a housing crisis affecting most people in the city. Six out of ten families in Dallas are “housing burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing. 83% of those living in poverty in Dallas are Black or Hispanic.
The historical redlining and racial segregation in Dallas is a persistent reality. 87% of housing voucher holders are Black and face ongoing legal housing discrimination because they receive housing subsidies, which shuts them out of the most prosperous areas of our city. Formerly incarcerated people are especially impacted, as they are prevented from accessing most jobs and rental housing due to their criminal records.
It is time for North Texas communities to work aggressively to repair these injustices by redirecting significant funds from policing and incarceration to create new housing and job opportunities, especially for people who have been incarcerated. By strategically investing in housing and employment, we can begin to heal the wounds and trauma created by segregation, racism, and inequitable development, and more effectively create true safety, rooted in justice, for all people.
TAKE THE LIBERATION PLEDGE
We are calling our community to take the Liberation Pledge - a commitment to dismantle white supremacy in ourselves and our society through personal examination, public action, and civic engagement. Take the Liberation Pledge here!
Become a Road to Liberation Partner CONGREGATION OR ORGANIZATION
Faith in Texas envisions a world in which economic, racial, and social equity enables everyone to live in complete liberation to pursue their divine purpose and participate fully in the systems and processes that govern their lives. As long as the Black community is oppressed and under attack, this vision cannot be realized. As faith leaders, we are compelled to take bold action. You and your congregation can join us as a Road to Liberation Partner by committing to three actions:
Preach and Teach Liberation
Between now and November 3, take time during your services, studies, small groups, or other teaching settings to share how your faith connects to liberation from white supremacy and racism. Use the resources in this toolkit to teach your members about the history of policing and incarceration, and how they have been used to bind and control us and our neighbors. Find resources here.
Mobilize to The Road to Liberation Launch Event
Invite your congregation to attend The Road to Liberation Launch Event on August 30. At The Road to Liberation Launch, your members will learn about the racial history of Dallas, how our faith traditions compel us towards liberation from white supremacy, and how we can collectively take action to divest from policing and incarceration and invest in true liberation. Learn more about The Road to Liberation Launch here.
Commit to the Liberation Pledge
Between August 30 and November 3, challenge your congregation to commit to the journey of liberation - for themselves, their neighbors, and their community. The Liberation Pledge commits us to take concrete action to seek liberation from white supremacy by addressing our own internalized racism, shaping local policies to address systemic racism, and by voting. Check out the Liberation Pledge here.
As a Road to Liberation Partner Congregation, you will receive support from Faith in Texas Clergy and Organizers, and will be listed as an official partner on the Road to Liberation Campaign Web Page.