Statement on Black Lives Matter and Recent Events in Olympia

June 16, 2020

Concerned Clergy of Olympia is firmly in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the pursuit of racial justice in our community. The death of George Floyd, which sparked the recent demonstrations in Olympia and across the country, is not just an individual tragedy, but further evidence of a long history of systemic violence, oppression, and murder of People of Color in the United States.

We are also troubled about the presence of armed militia groups that have begun to appear in Olympia in response to the BLM demonstrations. While everyone has the right to peaceably assemble, rights need to be balanced with responsibilities. The presence of those representing hateful ideologies and openly carrying weapons of violence is destabilizing and threatening, and undermines the important work of peacemaking and the pursuit of justice that is at the heart of the recent BLM protests.

In keeping with the spirit of the Olympia Charter for Compassion, we call on city leadership to examine how the City of Olympia can further the cause of racial justice, including how to best pursue matters of public safety. We ask that the city take any and all action that can be taken to limit the presence of armed civilians, and affirm that ideologies of white supremacy, hate, and oppression of those most marginalized are not welcome here.

Concerned Clergy of Olympia

Rev. Aaron Baughman, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd
Rev. Kathleen Bellefeuille-Rice, Holy Wisdom Inclusive Catholic Community
Rev. Lara Crutsinger-Perry, The United Churches
Rev. Therin Fenner, Westminster Presbyterian Church
Rev. Mary Gear, Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Rev. David Gerardot, Emmaus ECC
Rabbi Seth Goldstein, Temple Beth Hatfiloh
Rt. Rev. Kedda Keough, Emmaus ECC
Rev. Amy LaCroix, First Christian Church
Rev. Robert C. Laird, St. John’s Episcopal Church
Meg Martin, Executive Director, Interfaith Works
Rabbah Rona Matlow
Rev. Carol McKinley, Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Rev. Terry Murray, Unity of Olympia
Corey Passons, Interfaith Minister, Community for Interfaith Celebration
Rev. Peter Perry, First United Methodist Church of Olympia
Rev. Tammy Stampfli, The United Churches
Pastor Elizabeth Swenson, Wildwood Gathering
Rev. Dr. Diane S. Whalen, Holy Wisdom Inclusive Catholic Community

Organizations are for identification purposes only