Episcopal Diocese of New York apologizes for church’s participation in slave trade, sets up reparations commission
NEW YORK — The Episcopal Diocese of New York says it’s taking steps to right its wrongs when it comes to slavery.
The church is apologizing for its participation in the slave trade. Not only have they set up a reparations commission, they’re also pledging $1 million that will go towards education and work in the community.
The Episcopal Diocese of New York held a special service Saturday, apologizing for the church’s affiliation with the transatlantic slave trade and the oppression and exploitation of enslaved people by the Episcopal Church.
“A long time coming,” said Miriam J. Allen, an Episcopalian.
Andrew Dietsche, the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of New York, says African-American slaves built churches in the city, and even after emancipation, their families were denied equal access.
To recognize this injustice, the reparations commission of the Diocese of New York was created to acknowledge and teach this painful part of the church’s history.
“We are ready now to begin to make tangible investment in African-American people and communities as reparation for our history of slavery. But we can’t really do that and have it be meaningful unless, at the very beginning, we stop and take a moment and accept accountability,” Dietsche said.
Held at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan’s Morningside neighborhood, the diocese is pledging a $1.1 million fund to continue the fight against racism and bigotry.
“It’s going to be a long time moving forward because you have to get a lot of people on board and it’s about cleaning up our hearts, I believe, and just to stand as one,” praise dancer Tonika Custalow-Stuart said.
The bishop says this is a three-step process: lamentations, apologies and reparations.
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