In these recent times of increased focus on racial disparities, a few people have asked, “Is CCHF a safe place for me?” We hear the pain in that question.
Every member of the CCHF community is genuine in their commitment to try to live out the gospel through healthcare for the sake of those who are most vulnerable. Many of us still have blind spots, and are guilty of making others feel under-valued or disrespected. We want CCHF to be a safe place. We are trying to be more self-aware as a community.
For more than 4 decades it has been the goal of CCHF to be a community centered on Christ, recognized by our love for one another and for our most vulnerable neighbors. Our community has embraced a set of values that have helped us grow in the ministry of reconciliation, which is central to our mission. Since 2015, we have become even more intentional around the issues of diversity, justice, belonging, and inclusion. More than ever, we are dedicated to be a unified but diverse community, characterized by mutual respect, preferring one another, and committed to love, justice, humility, and a genuine desire to glorify God.
The following is an Action Statement that is divided into three parts:
- a summary of our convictions,
- a charge to each of us as individual followers of Christ, and
- a set of actions CCHF is taking as an organization to help us become the community we aspire to be.
We acknowledge that these are imperfect, and perhaps incomplete. They are an on-going attempt to reflect our commitment to be faithful to the gospel. They stem from generational engagement with communities that have been undervalued and neglected. We have seen first-hand the disparate realities that marginalized groups of people, all beloved of God, experience. We are compelled by our love for Christ and for our neighbors, through whom Christ is revealed daily.
I. Our Convictions
As we look to the scriptures, the following are convictions that drive us to action:
- God reveals himself through people from every tongue and tribe. All are image-bearers of God. All are equally valued and loved by Him. All have an indispensable role in serving God’s purposes and reflecting His magnificent kingdom.
- It is impossible to live out a Biblical gospel of the kingdom without embracing diversity, equity and inclusion/belonging. The broader church in the west has done a poor job of providing an example to the world of diversity and oneness – of valuing one another as Christ does. That must change.
- Contributions to the unfolding purposes and glory of God by under-represented minorities and people of color have been muted and minimalized. When one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers. Failing to appreciate the essential interdependence of every part of the body leaves the body broken, dysfunctional and immature.
- The ministry of reconciliation that we have all been given requires addressing systems, structures and cultural norms that have contributed to oppression, acting justly, upholding equality and building genuine community through the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Christ’s command for us to love our neighbors as ourselves, the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit and a faithful reading of the Scriptures compel us to be vigilant in identifying and addressing systemic inequities in our organizations, churches, and communities in honest and restorative ways.
II. What Each of Us Should Do
In light of these, we encourage all followers of Christ to respond as follows:
- Acknowledge the suffering of all who have been oppressed, marginalized, and minimalized.
- Lament. Systems and structures, present and historical, have led to the suffering of marginalized people and communities. It is a godly response to lament these realities – to allow the things that break God’s heart to break ours.
- Self-Examine. Each of us should be quick to examine ourselves and acknowledge where have been complicit in perpetuating systems and norms that have contributed to disparities and racism. We should repent, acknowledge our roles, and commit to humbly and relentlessly walk in the light and in fellowship with one another.
- Share in the Sufferings of Others. Christ’s followers are to share and intentionally enter into each other’s sufferings by being present, by identifying with each other, and by working to heal and to change inequities that contribute to ongoing suffering.
- Elevate the contributions of under-represented minorities and people of color by creating environments that solicit and encourage the perspectives, insights, creativity, and cultural contributions of all, as image bearers of God.
- Humility and Preference. Disciples who represent “dominant cultures” or “privilege” are to prefer others above themselves, listening and empathizing in humility, not thinking of one’s self more highly than another.
- Cross-Cultural Intentionality. True Biblical oneness requires followers of Christ to actively seek honest, transparent relationships with people different than ourselves, and that ultimately reflect God’s kingdom.
III. Our Actions
As an organization, CCHF has committed to the following:
- To ensure our growth and ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and belonging, CCHF has established a standing Diversity Committee as part of our governing Board.
- We have established diversity targets for Board membership that include racial/ethnic diversity, gender, and discipline.
- CCHF is committed to seek diversity, equity and belonging on the CCHF staff.
- Due to systemic racist selection across the academic system, minorities are under-represented in medicine and in leadership. As a result, CCHF intentionally pursues relationships and partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and with students who are ethnically diverse.
- In our conferences, podcasts, and publications, we are committed to include and feature Asian, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, people of color and immigrants who are part of this movement. We are committed to use our public platforms to address the ongoing challenges of diversity and unity in the body of Christ.
- We continue to encourage relocation and cross-cultural relationships to understand the complex, but surmountable issues of systemic inequities.
- Finally, we are committed to “advocating for advocacy”. By helping to make meaningful connections and by sharing stories of trial and successes, we will encourage and support efforts by CCHF members and clinics as they address brokenness, segmentation, and inequity in their own organizations and communities.