A Push Towards Justice: Doug Heuer
LMM Board Member & LMM Advocacy Committee Member
Why should I care about racial equity? My answer is rooted in both my spiritual faith and my belief in democracy. My faith directs me to love my neighbor as I love myself and that all people are my neighbors. History teaches that pervasive social and economic inequalities are existential threats to any democratic society. Therefore, actions that result in promoting inequality or acquiescing to inequality are violations of these fundamental beliefs.
History demonstrates that despite professed good intentions our society has been culturally, economically, politically and legally discriminatory against black and brown peoples. This has resulted in significant social and economic inequalities. As a professional educator for over four decades, I have personally experienced how these inequalities play out in the lives of children. I have lived through black and brown children being relegated to attend underfunded and understaffed schools in impoverished, segregated communities even though a 66-year-old Supreme Court ruling determined such schools were inherently unequal. I have lived through local and state-sanctioned disciplinary policies that disproportionately sanction black and brown students, resulting in a school to prison pipeline. I have lived through the implementation of state and federal mandated educational testing programs that have been inappropriately and unjustly used to disadvantage black and brown students and the schools that they attend.
History further demonstrates that such inequalities will persist regardless of a shift in cultural beliefs, if existing disparities are not addressed and the discriminatory economic, political and legal, structural mechanisms remain unchanged. Helping individuals overcome disparities and advocating for structural change in the interest of social justice is representative of the pursuit of racial equity. Such is the mission of Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry and for this reason, I am a member of LMM’s Advocacy Committee.