The following statement was released by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) on June 3, 2020, in a communication signed by its president, Michael Kruger.—Editors
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is immersed in the lives of vulnerable people around the world. We have seen families fleeing genocide in Myanmar, girls forced into early marriage in Uganda, children starving to death in Madagascar, poor communities desperate for hope in Syria, and entire neighborhoods washed away in the Bahamas.
For more than 30 years, we have seen — and fought to change — inequality, poverty, hunger, and despair in more than 100 developing countries around the world.
Inequality and despair are not endemic to the developing world only, and we at ADRA can no longer address injustice worldwide without acknowledging injustice here where we reside in the United States.
George Floyd did not deserve to die. Ahmaud Arbery did not deserve to die. Breonna Taylor did not deserve to die. These precious lives are the most recent victims to a national heritage of racism and violence, against them or in response to them, that has claimed more African American lives than can be counted. We must do everything we can to make sure this heritage of racial inequality comes to a conclusive end while we await Christ’s return.
The United States was founded on Christian beliefs but built on the backs of slaves. That paradox disgraces us to this day and shames all who do not speak out on behalf of equality and justice.
We at ADRA urge all who claim to be Christian to take seriously and reflect on the words of 1 Corinthians 12:26: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (NIV).
When our fellow humans suffer, we at ADRA suffer. We suffer irrespective of who they are. We suffer when anyone is discriminated against because of the color of their skin. We suffer because every human life is made in the image of God.
This is why it is so important that we live by the words of Jesus: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34, NIV).
As the humanitarian arm of the most ethnically diverse Christian faith in the United States, it is our privilege to serve so all people may live as God intended. It is our honor to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world. It is our responsibility to be the voice of justice, compassion, and love.
The last half of 1 Corinthians 12:26 says, “If one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (NIV). Now is not a time to rejoice but a time to mourn, and to speak out against the injustice that causes us to mourn.
We pray that you will join us in denouncing injustice as we strive to take action against it. Until all are honored equally, no one in America can rejoice.
I stand with you,