March Challenges Church, White People to Speak Up for Racial Justice

Attorney and Gateway Community Church congregant Dominique Callins organized a march in South Riding on Sunday that ended with calls to the church community and white people to break their silence on racial injustice.

The march brought together more than 200 people from several different churches, marching from the Dulles South Recreation Center along Tall Cedars Parkway to Gateway Community Church. In speeches in front of the church, attendees were called upon to speak up and take action as a matter of faith.

“White friends, could we please lay down our comfort levels and build a bridge to a black friend,” said Steph Fink, a white woman. “Ask about their story and culture. Listen and grieve at past and present injustices.”

She said the church has not done enough for black people in pain.

“The world will know who we, the church, are not by our political leanings, clever social media posts, or relying on just our own past experiences,” Fink said. “The world will know us by our love.”

Dominique Callins called on marchers to take an active, “anti-racist” role at a demonstration Sunday, June 14. [Renss Greene/Loudoun Now]

“The American church was not and is not immune to the diseases of racism,” Callins, a black woman, said. “But more than the overt actions, the American church, and dare I say it, the white American church, has been complicit in its resounding silence on the issues of racial injustice. The church speaks out in the cause of the unborn, but cannot be hard over the cries of dying unarmed black men and women, being killed consistently, indiscriminately and as a matter of policy.”

She urged marchers to take an active role and be “anti-racists.”

“We are being called as a people to take a stand, to brave, to do the hard, to do the uncomfortable things,” Callins said. “When you see another individual with his knee on a man’s neck, it’s not enough for you to stand idly by and say, ‘I wasn’t the one who did it.’ You need to pull that man up off of that other person’s neck. There’s no time for us to be shy anymore.”

Gateway Lead Pastor Ed Allen, who conceded “I’m one of those people who has been too silent for too long,” led attendees in kneeling for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, a span of time that has taken on symbolic importance after then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of black man George Floyd for that long, killing Floyd as he begged to be allowed to breathe.

Callins also urged people to vote, to read, and to “sincerely, earnestly engage with one another.”

“Still in this day and age, still in this area … you see people who look like each other hanging out, and we need to be purposeful and intentional. We have so much more in common than we have that divides us. Once we start seeing human beings as human beings, it takes on a totally different context, and when those human beings happen to be law enforcement, and happen to be the policymakers, then that’s when change really starts.”

Marchers kneels for eight minutes and 46 seconds at a demonstration in South Riding Sunday, June 15. [Renss Greene/Loudoun Now

2 thoughts on “March Challenges Church, White People to Speak Up for Racial Justice

  • 2020-06-15 at 8:37 pm

    I am white. Do not insult me with claims that I do not want to see injustice stopped. Do not insult me with veiled statements that I do not have a heart filled with love and understanding. Do not insult me with patronizing statements that I am stupid and do not understand the pain and injustice minorities suffer from. Do not insult me by implying my friends are all of one color. How dare you put me in a box and call me “the problem.” Until we, as a whole see everyone as the same, we have progressed not a single step forward. As they used to say, act your age and not your shoe size.

  • 2020-06-16 at 9:26 am

    “Until we, as a whole see everyone as the same, we have progressed not a single step forward.”


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