This summer 50 officers and soldiers from the Metropolitan and Wisconsin/Upper Michigan divisions met at the Chicago Temple, Ill., Corps to discuss action steps that can be taken by individuals and the territory to advocate for racial equality.
“The convening of this discussion was really about bringing individuals together, particularly those who made the declaration [#SalvationistsinSolidarity] to begin the dialogue about how to take action in light of their desire to stand in solidarity with people of color,” said Major Katherine Clausell, territorial social justice and urban mission secretary, who facilitated the event.
Joining the dialogue were territorial leaders Commissioners Brad and Heidi Bailey, territorial program secretaries Lt. Colonels Jonathan and Barbara Rich and Commissioner Barry Swanson, who at the time was leading the Metropolitan Division. According to Major Katherine, their presence and participation—hearing what was on these leaders’ hearts—encouraged those gathered at the Temple Corps, as well as nearly 150 other Salvationists who watched the livestreamed event which has since been viewed 3,500 times online, reaching 4,900 people. The evening also included a panel discussion and time for questions and answers.
“I thought the gathering was a much-needed conversation that Salvationists were longing for, especially Salvationists of color,” said Cadet Samantha Tamayo, who helped coordinate the event. “My heart breaks for what my black and brown brothers and sisters are going through. The least I can do is to use my gifts and talents to help offer a platform where people feel heard.”
“I was honored to serve as a panelist,” said Major Caleb Senn. “The important discourse during this setting is only a starting point for our territory’s response to racial injustice. I am encouraged that we can move forward from this point committed to further education, advocacy and accountability.”