APF Statement on Freddie Gray and Baltimore

The APF Board has released the following statement on Freddie Gray and the subsequent events in Baltimore:

The Adventist Peace Fellowship is deeply troubled by recent events in the city of Baltimore. While all the facts are not yet known, it is beyond dispute that a young man’s life was violently taken from him while in the custody of police officers—an event that falls within larger patterns of systemic racism, structural injustice, historical inequalities, and brutality targeting young Black men. It is also clear that many citizens—including the elderly poor—are now suffering severe hardships from the destruction of several days of violent riots.

It is our hope and prayer that Baltimore now experience not merely a return to the “peace” of the status quo but rather a true transformation of values and policy priorities that promote justice and equality for residents of the city’s neglected neighborhoods. We call on Seventh-day Adventists in Baltimore and throughout the country to follow the examples of the Hebrew prophets and to actively resist injustice and oppression wherever they encounter it, whether on their streets or in City Hall. We herald Adventist pastors Reginald Exum, David Franklin, and DuWayne Privette who have embodied these ideals on the streets of Baltimore. We continue to urge peacemakers to follow the principles and tactics of nonviolent resistance to oppression powerfully demonstrated by individuals such as Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We also encourage pastors to promote a culture of nonviolence and a vision for peacemaking within their churches. History has taught us that violence begets violence and hatred begets hatred. As Christians we are called to seek justice precisely through tireless and active peacemaking.