On June 7, a couple thousand Christians from churches across the Washington, D.C., metro area marched from South East D.C. to the White House by way of the U.S. Capitol to protest systemic racial injustice, most recently exhibited in the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. And we joined them.
The march was organized by Faith + Works DC, a Christian advocacy group out of Anacostia River Church pastored by Thabiti Anyabwile, and McLean Bible Church pastored by David Platt. Chronicled online with the hashtag #FaithThatWorks, the march started from the South East quadrant of the city; neighborhoods known for being largely nonwhite and underserved. The start and endpoints (Wards 7 and 8 to the White House) reflected just how geographically close two places can be while being worlds apart in resources, influence, and even physical safety.
Pastors Anyabwile and Platt blessed and prayed over the protestors starting in Ward 8 before crossing the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge.
Many Christians have been struck by the recent tragedies and the examples of systemic racism, but without a clear direction of response. We can relate to this feeling—wanting to show our support for black Americans, but not wanting to be associated with the rioting and violence taking place at many of the protests. The Sunday march provided us an opportunity for a way forward.
We marched to the U.S. Capitol, prayed in Jesus’ name for Amos 5:24 to ring true in America, and we sang in joyful protest all the rest of the way to the White House.
Many Christians are choosing the hard work of repentance, educating themselves, and having tough conversations with friends and family on race in America. These are not public nor glamorous actions, but they are vitally important to racial reconciliation.
The march was entirely peaceful with folks proudly displaying signs of God’s love for both peace and justice. A common refrain chanted by the protestors was “Do justice! Love mercy!” from the Bible verse Micah 6:8. Singing with other believers “This Little Light of Mine” while walking down the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue is a moment we’ll never forget.
Marching like this, with our brothers and sisters, singing and praying, is a powerful way Christians can respond to the injustice in our country. We should take advantage of our right to freely worship and assemble, according to our beliefs. Too many others around the world don’t have this privilege.
This “Christian Response to Racial Injustice” is not the only Christian response to racial injustice. There are many ways Christians can and should respond, but we found it to be a powerful witness of our faith to see Christians publicly stand together and say “Jesus cares about justice. Black lives matter to God, and they ought to matter to us.”
Many Christians are choosing the hard work of repentance, educating themselves, and having tough conversations with friends and family on race in America. These are not public nor glamorous actions, but they are vitally important to racial reconciliation. We should have grace with one another as we all do our different parts to pursue truth, goodness, and beauty in our country.