January 31, 2018

Christian Leaders Release Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

Washington, D.C. – More than 80 diverse faith leaders today released a declaration calling on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection between racism and poverty.

The Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty, which was sent to members of Congress before last night’s State of the Union address, appeals to all people, especially Christians, to actively work against racism and poverty. It notes that the “body of Christ is perhaps the most diverse racial community in the world.”

The leaders call on political leaders from both parties to develop legislative agendas that will reduce racism and poverty. They assert that “[r]acism is systematic and structural in America and harms people of color in very specific, measurable, and tangible ways.”

The leaders are “deeply troubled” by budget and other proposals coming from Congress and the administration that would hurt struggling people of all races in both the United States and around the world. These threats to anti-poverty programs have unified them into “a more vigorous, multiracial Christian movement to maintain a circle of protection around all people in poverty and God’s children of color in particular, who are disproportionally impacted.”

A letter to Congress introducing the Declaration reads in part: 

“As Christians, we are grounded in God’s love for all people, and we feel called to ask our churches and political leaders of both parties to work together to overcome racism and poverty which are theological, biblical, and gospel issues for us, not merely political or partisan ones…

“We are purposefully sending you this statement before you go to your respective retreats. In addition to reading this statement thoughtfully, we ask for the following three things: first, we ask you to discuss this statement and the issues central to it—racism and poverty— at your retreats; second, we ask you to incorporate these concerns into your policy decisions and legislation in 2018 and beyond; third, we ask you to convene meetings with faith leaders in your communities to plan follow-up action on these issues in your states and districts…

“Racism and poverty are systemic issues that are central to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. Therefore, they are critical to policy choices made by political leaders of faith and conscience.”

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

  • The Nourishing Effect

    Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

  • Mass Incarceration: A Major Cause of Hunger

    Mass incarceration has far-reaching effects in the United States. It poses a significant barrier to ending U.S. hunger and poverty by 2030—a goal the United States adopted in 2015. But the connection is not always obvious.

  • Advancing Nutrition through Food Aid Reform

    The United States has long been a global leader in responding to humanitarian emergencies. Food assistance that includes nutritious food for pregnant women and young children is both a life-and-death matter for individuals and an economic imperative for countries.

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.

    ...

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.