Pastor calls for end to institutional racism

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
July 10, 2020

Rev. Anthony Daniel

Rev. Anthony Daniel, Pastor of Macedonia AME Church in Fernandina Beach, addressed the Fernandina Beach City Commission at their July 7, 2020 meeting to emphasize that the recent Black Lives Matter march organized by the Racial Equality Coalition in June following the death of George Floyd was intended to underscore the importance of Black lives.  He stressed that by publicly proclaiming the importance of Black lives, it was not the marchers’ intent to diminish or undervalue other lives.  He added that the Racial Equality Coalition was not an organization set up against law enforcement.

Daniel said, “We are saying that Black lives matter, because they haven’t mattered for 400 years.  Publicly stating that is not an anti police movement.  But we oppose institutional racism.

“I hear people talk about how police brutality does not exist here in Fernandina Beach.  It might not be as prevalent as what we have recently witnessed in other parts of the country.  But racism exists in Nassau County and Fernandina Beach, even if no one but myself will talk about it.  What interests me is when people will talk about racism, the Klan and conspiracy.  You see, you don’t have to have a conspiracy theory if you have institutions that promote racism.  Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have a room full of White folks sitting in a back room some place saying, ‘All in favor of discriminating against black people, raise a hand and say aye.’  That’s not how it works.  We have set up unequal structures that provide unequal outcomes.  A person or policy is racist if they support such structures and policies.  A person is anti-racist is they support anti-racist ideas.

“Racism is any time we perceive the problem as people as opposed to the problems of the people.  Racism is a powerful collection of racist ideas and policies that lead to public inequality.  Racial inequality is a discriminatory legal system that imprisons Black men and includes the bias in education that affects Black children and even public health care.

“I would like to see the city of Fernandina Beach to go after the preexisting systems of racism and partner with any group in cracking the codes to address racism in our beloved community, starting with the willingness for setting a progressive and pragmatic approach to closing the gap in city hiring of African Americans.”

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