In the United States, the quest for social justice is defined by the efforts of African Americans. The bloody freedom struggles of the civil rights movement laid the foundation for every other modern rights struggle. The laws born out of African American resistance guarantee the franchise for all and ban discrimination based not just on race but on gender, nationality, religion, and ability. It was the civil rights movement that led to the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 which upended the racist immigration quota system. The leadership of African Americans in establishing equity and social justice in America has been forged through the crucible of generations of suffering and righteous resistance in a manner that informs religious faith and is consistent with the prophetic tradition.
The murder of George Floyd, however, quashed notions that we, as a nation, have achieved social justice for all. It was a chilling reminder that we have not done enough to eradicate social injustices visited upon African Americans.
The Council’s member organizations acknowledged that expressions of solidarity were no longer sufficient. The Council formed the Anti-Racism Task Force charged with the mission to raise awareness of systemic injustices, spearheading policies to remedy incidences of systemic racism, and implementing programs to address the ill effects of such injustices. During the past year, roundtable discussions hosted by the Council provided a platform to raise awareness of systemic bias and explore remedies capable of implementation. Policy advocacy at IMAD supported policies that uplift the preeminent role of African Americans in the fight for civil rights and social justice.
The Social Justice Service Challenge is a Council grant initiative to engage members in identifying projects that ameliorate systemic discrimination that requires an increased focus on populations most impacted by systemic racism. The journey to achieve justice for all is long, but the Council and its members are committed to realizing its mission.