Opening Words from Sun. September 27 by Krystal White

Good morning, everyone. My name is Krystal White and I have a confession to make. I am a racist. I don’t carry the Confederate Flag and I’ve never called an African American the n word, but I have and continue to make assumptions based on race and I take actions based on those stereotypes. I am a racist, and I actively fight that about myself every single day. I would rather call myself an antiracist – someone who works to dismantle systematic racist systems so that no one suffers oppression based on the color of their skin.

That’s one of the many reasons I organize the Black Lives Matter vigils here at Ethical. I strive to live my values of “every person is important and unique” and “everyone deserves to be treated fairly and kindly.” Another reason is because I spend so much of my life in Ladue, in a very wealthy, predominantly White, and extraordinarily privileged community. In so many ways, Ladue is not a welcoming place for a person of color. I know, because I have reviewed the Vehicular Stop Data provided by the Ladue Police Department.

Let me explain how the statistics work. If a population is 0.86% African-American, as it is in Ladue, you would expect that 0.86% of the police stops would involve African-Americans in that community. This would have a racial disparity index of 1, which really means that no racial disparity exists for that race. Ladue’s racial disparity index for African Americans is 15.96 – the highest racial disparity index in all of Missouri. Our Ethical Society, our welcoming home for humanists, is located in a city that is not welcoming to all. This unfair treatment is simply not acceptable and we should not tolerate it.

Members of the End Racism group have joined together with Ladue residents to put pressure on the Ladue Mayor and the Ladue Police Chief. We’ve had first meetings with both individuals and we’re laying the groundwork for positive change. Organizing work is really hard – committee work takes time and persistence – but no one ends systematic oppression in a day. No one does it alone either. We’d love to have you join us. Come to our next Black Lives Matter Vigil on Sunday, October 18th. Come to our next committee meeting on Thursday, October 1st, at 7 p.m. Join us and 1500 other Saint Louis area residents on October 31st and November 1st as we unpack the Ferguson Commission report and hold our political leaders accountable for change. The Ladue Mayor and Police Chief will be there, and we hope you will be too.

Please reach out to me, Samantha White, Kayla Vaughn, or Gene Lauver with questions you have. Thank you for partnering with us and trying to make our wider community as welcoming as it can be.