Respond to Fear with Compassion

A post election statement from our Executive Director Rev. Kristin Stoneking:

My guess is you’re as shocked as I am at the outcome of yesterday’s presidential election. The idea that a person who espoused racist, sexist, classist demagoguery has become the president of the United States was unthinkable. And yet, it has happened. The urgency of our work just got turned up about 1000 percent.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is connected to the movements for intersectional justice that continue to gain in momentum and impact. In the last few years, the number of people in this country who have become woke has increased tremendously. FOR alone has trained nearly 2000 in nonviolent direct action in just over two years. Each time we show up at an action or a meeting or speak out against injustice, we are changed. And that’s how we change the world.

To hang on to privileged power is to hang on to fear, and I truly believe that the most useful response to fear is compassion. As easy as it is to blame or harangue, an “us vs. them” mentality is a distortion of reality. We are all connected and as we move forward, let’s make sure that we guard our hearts and souls from the hatred and exclusivism we seek to overcome.

Many are wondering what to do next in response to the election. I urge you to be a part of a community of struggle, whether that is an FOR local chapter or affiliate, a group in your faith community, or a group that forms in response to this election. FOR organizing staff and I will be gathering with other faith-rooted organizers next week at the historic Highlander Center outside of Knoxville to prepare for the days to come. I look forward to sharing with you outcomes from that gathering for a way forward.

Doing what is right and just, regardless of outcome, is the essence of faith. We at the Fellowship of Reconciliation will continue to follow the lead of the most vulnerable among us and we will never give up until we’ve achieved the beloved community.

We’re building a grassroots movement. Are you in?

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