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BY MISSY SMITH

September 13, 2020


Just Faith: Reclaiming Progressive Christianity, the new book by The Resistance Prays founder Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, comes out this week! Learn more here.
A demonstrator at Action Against Police Brutality (from The Washington Post)
A jail support team in Charlotte, North Carolina has been targeted by law enforcement. This week their space was dismantled and volunteers were arrested for trying to provide support to individuals being released from jail - from WSOCTV. This comes on the heels of repeated Trumpian efforts to label protesters as criminals.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” - ‭‭Luke‬ ‭4:18-19‬ ‭

"Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’” - ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭25:34-36‬
In every state in this nation, there are pockets of freedom fighters who do work in the shadows, who will never take the spotlight, yet who support the efforts to bring justice to their communities. These individuals jump into action at a moment’s notice, coordinating behind screens and encrypted messaging apps. When protesters are arrested, these groups furiously try to obtain information to secure their release, and they schedule volunteers to wait for them outside of the jail doors with offers of resources, snacks, and transportation.

These jail support teams, often organized under local community bail funds and in support of Black Lives Matter or Movement 4 Black Lives efforts, have become thorns in the sides of many law-enforcement groups. This is not because they are actively harming or impeding the work of law enforcement, but simply because they seek to support those the system labels “criminals.” These groups seek to do as we have been instructed by our faith, to visit those who are imprisoned and work to set the captive free.

Jail support teams across the nation have drawn attention and aggression from police, most recently in Charlotte, North Carolina.  

This is the country in which we live, friends. Simply supporting and affirming the humanity of those the state has labeled as undesirable has brought violence and incarceration to these teams. This is Trump’s America. It is past time that we repent, turn away from this dangerous path. We are so close to the end of this leg of the race. Do whatever is yours to do in your corner of the country to end this race well and to restore decency to the highest levels of leadership.
Do you know who is doing the work of liberation in your community? There are community bail funds throughout the country, many supported by jail support teams, communication teams, and many other behind-the-scenes volunteers. Find your closest community bail fund here and contact its organizers to see how you can join and support them in this Godly work. This work needs more willing people, and our faith propels us towards efforts that liberate.

To help pay the ransom for those jail support workers in Charlotte who were arrested, and to provide post-release support, click here.
God of liberation and justice who sets the captives free,

We thank You that You stir dreams in us of what could be. We ask that You spur more laborers to the field.  We pray that you embolden us to speak the language of liberation and that You give us discernment and endurance to actively bring it into existence in our country.

We pray for our siblings who are being targeted by unjust systems. We acknowledge that these systems rely on the status quo, and will fight change at every turn. Keep our siblings strong, and show us how to support their work.

Amen.
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