Adventists Continue to Respond to Racial Violence In Charlottesville

Here is a sampling of events, news stories, statements, and blog posts relating to the recent racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. See our previous reporting here--NAD & ASJ.

Call to Prayer for Charlottesville (19 Aug 2017)

Seventh-day Adventist Entities Respond to Charlottesville (Alisa Williams, Spectrum, 18 Aug 2017)

Pacific Union Conference President Responds to Charlottesville Atrocities: “Blessed Are the Peacemakers” (Adventist Today, 18 Aug 2017)

Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Ricardo Graham Responds to White Supremacist Violence (Ricardo Graham, Spectrum, 17 Aug 2017)

A Response to Events in Charlottesville, Virginia (Michael Nixon, Andrews University Diversity Blog, 17 Aug 2017)

A Brutal Wakeup Call (Ty Gibson, Light Bearers, 17 Aug 2017)

On Being Adventist in the Wake of Charlottesville (Laura Wibberding, The Other Adventist Home, 17 Aug 2017) [I want to add a comment that I think both are problems -- racism and lack of activism.]

Adventist Congregations & Leaders Respond to Violent Incident in Virginia (Adventist Today, 15 Aug 2017)

Charlottesville. How Do We React? (Roger Hernandez, The Haystack, 14 Aug 2017)

And a general message from Andrews University - Instagram

NAD Responds to Violence in Charlottesville

The North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination posted a news story about the recent racial violence in Virginia (link). The article begins:

Tragedy struck the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12, 2017, when demonstrators at a white nationalist rally, after a day of protests and clashes, were hit by the car of an Ohio man whom authorities claim held radical views. Thirty-two-year-old Heather Heyer was killed; according to news reports, nine pedestrians were injured in the crash with injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening.
The local Adventist churches are working together to help with the healing process.

The article also contains a statement from Daniel R. Jackson and G. Alexander Bryant, the president and executive secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America.

It finishes with a response from Adventist pastor and former APF student leader, Daniel Xisto. Be sure to click through to his moving response--I'm not OK.

The complete NAD article can be read here.

ASJ: Stand in Solidarity against the Evils of Racism

Adventists for Social Justice released the following statement regarding the racial violence in Virginia over the weekend:


August, 13th, 2017. This weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, we watched from across the country, as hundreds of torch-wielding white nationalists marched through this town, intending to attack and intimidate through a “Unite the Right” rally in opposition of a plan to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general, from a city park. These violent, racist acts are tragic and intolerable. 

This is blatant domestic terrorism, with racially driven actions we have been reminded over time are not behind us. These reminders appear to be occurring rapidly, in our towns and cities, and it is imperative for us to act in defense of our friends, families, and neighbors. 

We MUST stand up for each other, because we know the history, and we are painfully aware of what such demonstrations represent. We are weary as we observe that the highest office of the land, shifts blames on "both sides", instead of wielding power and status to defend minorities and the oppressed within this United States of America.

In times like this, we share feelings of hurt, pain, sorrow, and fear. We are encouraged now more than ever that although "troubled on every side, not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." 

This is the time for Adventists for Social Justice to stand in solidarity against the evils of racism and we are committed to protecting those in fear, and combat and denounce hatred and injustice from every avenue. God is clear, we must do good, seek justice, and correct oppression. Silence is not an option. The challenge is for you, your leaders and churches to join us in fulfilling Christ's mission on Earth, being centers of hope, peace, and action.

Our prayers are with the families and loved ones of Heather Heyer, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. bates, whose lives were senselessly lost at this time.

AToday: Race in Society and Religion (Cleran Hollancid)

In May 2017, Cleran Hollancid posted an 8-part Adventist Today series on racial justice and reconciliation. I appreciated Cleran's voice on the Compass conversations (It Is Time to Talk, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3*), and I enjoyed seeing him again at Repairing the Breach after meeting him several years earlier. While at Repairing the Breach, he told me about his series of articles that would be posted on AToday.

Cleran's bio on the AToday series reads:

Cleran L. Hollancid is a life-long Adventist who belongs to a congregation in Michigan. He is a PhD candidate in the sociology of religion at Western Michigan University. His research has focused on racial segregation in the Adventist Church in the United States of America. He completed a BA in theology at Caribbean Union College, the Master of Divinity in the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, an MA in anthropology and an MA in sociology at Wayne State University. Is an adjunct professor in the Religious Studies Program at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. The purpose of this eight-part series is to offer beginning steps toward racial reconciliation in the Adventist faith community.

Here are links to the eight essays:

  1. Race in Society and Religion: Its Implications and Its Long Shadow (Cleran Hollancid, Adv Today, 22 May 2017)
  2. The Notion of Race in Light of History, Current Events and Comparative Religious Outlooks (Cleran Hollancid, Adv Today, 23 May 2017)
  3. Legacy of Race: Implications and Historical Considerations in Adventist Culture (Cleran Hollancid, Adv Today, 25 May 2017)
  4. More about the Legacy of Race in Seventh-day Adventist Culture (Cleran Hollancid, Adv Today, 26 May 2017)
  5. More about the Legacy of Race in Seventh-day Adventist Culture (Cleran Hollancid, Adv Today, 29 May 2017)
  6. Progress in the Twenty-first Century? (Cleran Hollancid, Adv Today, 7 June 2017)
  7. Moving Forward: Considerations for Adventists (Cleran Hollancid, Adv Today, 11 June 2017)
  8. Summary and Steps toward a New Beginning (Cleran Hollancid, 12 June 2017)

*See also David Penno's Compass Magazine blog posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4