In 2020, we watched as the world has changed around us in a variety of ways. An unprecedented global pandemic has highlighted the inequities of American society, and will continue to do so for years to come. Simultaneously, systemic prejudice against people of color has also made these disparities uncomfortably stark. Today, we, McKinley Presbyterian Church and Foundation, seek to reaffirm our commitment to trying to right these systemic wrongs in our own communities.
McKinley has strived always to keep inclusivity and social justice at the forefront of our mission, and will continue to do so, but we must actively work to make sure this is not interpreted as complacency. Our commitment to justice cannot lay stagnant.
In order to achieve true progress, we must address white supremacy, the systemic roots of white privilege, and racial injustice in our church, on our campus, and in our greater community. Though these truths may be hard to face, they are vital to continuing our mission as a welcoming and safe space for all individuals. Simply affirming the fact that Black Lives Matter is not enough. At McKinley, we seek to always push progress forward, and that starts with both acknowledgment and accountability on our behalf.
We can always do better, and we seek to hold ourselves to the highest standard possible. We hope that our commitment to racial justice can spark larger conversations about race and inclusivity on campus and elsewhere, allowing Black voices and perspectives to be recognized as a vital part of our community’s fabric.
To address this, the McKinley Presbyterian Church and Foundation has announced the following initiatives:
- Scholarship for a local student
- We commit to offering a scholarship to an African-American student from Champaign-Urbana who is attending either the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign or Parkland College.
- Black Lives Matter donations
- We commit to continue our contributions to organizations that actively promote Black voices in our community and elsewhere.
- Elevating Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in our communities
- We commit to continue and to improve upon our efforts to cultivate important conversations and programming on race and social justice topics and centered on the voices of the most marginalized.
- We commit to supporting Black-owned businesses and amplifying the efforts of groups organizing around racial justice in our community.
Through this set of explicit actions, we hope to foster a more inclusive and aware Champaign-Urbana community. Our inclusivity is our strength, and we will make concerted efforts to right the systemic wrongs in our foundation, our church and our broader communities.
~~McKinley Church and Foundation
This statement was crafted by McKinley’s Compassion, Peace, and Justice Committee and approved by both the Foundation Board of Directors and the Session with the commitment that this statement will continue to evolve over time.