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BPFNA Working Group on Centering Black Lives in Pursuit of Racial Justice

Please read the following information in full before applying for this working group. When you are ready, please click here to apply.

Purpose

To work with BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz staff and board to center justice for Black life in the work of this organization in pursuit of liberation for all.

Context

Black lives in the United States are currently lost at a rate of one person every 28 hours, many to agents of the State protected by overwhelming impunity. Furthermore, 1 in 3 black males born in 2001 are at risk of imprisonment during their lifetimes as “zero tolerance” policies criminalize minor, nonviolent transgressions and funnel Black children from public schools into the juvenile and criminal justice system. These statistics, indicating a “public school to prison pipeline,” reveal (only in part) the depths of the current and historic attack on Black lives in the United States but do no justice to the generations of trauma that this systemic dehumanization creates.

In doing the work of centering justice for Black lives within the context of today’s society, particularly within the United States (one of BPFNA – Bautistas por la Paz’s four home nations), we seek to strike directly against the roots of latent white supremacy and militarism, which are exported internationally to fuel similarly sanctioned attacks on the lives of people outside of North America, living in their own countries of origin, on a global scale. This manifests in the policing and militarization of US borders and those of US economic allies, such as Mexico and Israel, where Black and Brown bodies are under attack in an effort to uphold white supremacist capitalism.

Despite the persistence of systems, coordinated resistance efforts like the Movement for Black Lives herald the humanity and beauty of black and brown persons, continue to challenge us with a vision of justice born out of community in struggle. Radical love and resistance are at the core of the Movement for Black Lives, United We Dream, and Not1More, to name a few.

In response to the Movement for Black Lives’ demand, an interruption to the status quo is required. In solidarity with the disruption, movement that support the importance of Black lives, and BPFNA - Bautistas por la Paz’ commitment to peace rooted in justice, is committed to examining how dehumanizing systems are manifest within our own structures and community.

The BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz seeks to center the sanctity of Black Lives in our work for peace and justice. Toward this end, a Working Group was formed.

This working group will be grounded in the following convictions:

  • We have a stake in and a responsibility to reverse the structures of racism, violence, and oppression that are at the root of the systemic attack on Black life woven into the fabric of our society today.
  • It is not the job of people of color to teach white people how racism permeates our society and impacts all of us.  We also know that in doing the work of centering Black lives we must center and take leadership from Black voices through relationships of accountability, maintained by taking responsibility for our own anti-racist education, connecting with groups like Showing Up for Racial Justice who prioritize transparent accountability relationships with Black Lives Matter leadership, and relationships with Black friends, family, and BPFNA members and partner congregations.
  • When centering the liberation of those most marginalized, the rest of us will be liberated along the way: None of us are free until all of us are free.
  • Dismantling other manifestations of white supremacy, violence, and oppression is equally urgent work which will require a broad global unified effort that racism inherently undermines. The struggle is interconnected.
  • This work is rooted in radical love, is fought on many fronts, and stands on the shoulders of freedom fighters past and present

Tasks

  • Internal assessment of structure, culture, decision-making
    • Primary Questions:
      • How are decisions made - what are the priorities?
      • Who is supported?  How are decisions to award scholarships and grants made?
      • What is the process to be sure to give priority to balanced representation in BPFNA staff, Board of Directors, and other leadership positions without tokenism?
      • Who are we accountable to in our anti-racist work?
  • Make recommendations to and work alongside staff and board in:
    • Centering Black life in the organization’s internal processes
    • Creating more spaces/opportunities for membership to engage in anti-racism work
    • Identifying strategic partnerships to advance BPFNA's goal of centering Black lives
  • Fundraising for the Movement for Black Lives at least equal to the Shield-Ayers grant funding the delegation to Ferguson
  • Building and cultivating accountability relationships

Timeline

This group will convene and work formally for the duration of the 2016 calendar year, but may carry on informally beyond. It will aim to set a foundation upon which the BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz board and staff are empowered to continue the practice of centering Black lives in the work of this organization.

Ideal Working Group Make-up:

  • Representation:
    • Lived experience carrying marginalized identities, particularly with regard to race
    • Intimate knowledge of/relationship to BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz membership, culture, and organizational structure/history
    • Newly developing knowledge of/relationship to BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz with fresh eyes for identifying areas for growth and new/innovative practices
    • Balance with regard to: race, BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz’s four home nations, gender identity, class, priority issue area of peace work
  • Commitments:
    • To speak up and to support others who speak up, seeking to "call people in" in a way that motivates people to do better, and only "call people out" when absolutely necessary
    • To anti-racism, centering Black lives, and relationships maintaining accountability in this work (potentially manifesting in connections to and experience with the Movement for Black Lives)
  • Skills:
    • Ability to hold anger and hurt (one’s own and that of others) and constructive criticism, to be self-reflective, and to value conflict in the process of growth and transformation
    • Ability to see with an intersectional analysis the ways in which the many issue areas of the peace movement are inextricably woven together, the common roots of violence undergirding them, and the ways in which racism permeates each
    • Ability to articulate with an intersectional analysis and theological grounding the ways in which the many issue areas of the peace movement are are inextricably woven together, the common roots of violence undergirding them, and the ways in which racism permeates each in a way that is accessible
    • Ability to facilitate small group dialogues and one-on-one meetings that move people to action and a desire to hold oneself and others accountable to their actions while also building towards a larger cultural shift within BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz
    • Experience with organizational advancement and/or monitoring/evaluation of nonprofits -- ability to apply an intersectional analysis and intention to center those most marginalized to the decision-making processes, hiring/funding practices, etc. of an organization
    • Community organizing
    • Fundraising, particularly grassroots and membership-based strategies which build community and capacity as well

Application Process

Click here to apply for the working group. Please have someone complete this reference form to be submitted with the full application. Applications are due by January 20, 2016. Decisions will be made by February 1, 2016.

Contact BPFNA Communications Manager Allison Paksoy at allison@bpfna.org or 704-521-6051 with questions.


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