Does Poverty Have a Color?
7 December 2020 | Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, the CEO of humanitarian agency Christian Aid, spoke for the final 2020 diversity lecture at Newbold College in Berkshire, England, on November 10.
An Adventist herself, Mukwashi’s topic was “Does Poverty Have A Color?”
Her subtitle was ‘How the Church can restore dignity, justice and equality for all.’
“As she surveyed the Church universal and her own Adventist community, her answer to her own question was a resounding ‘yes’,” said a report on the event for tedNEWS by Michael and Helen Pearson.
Mukwashi spoke about the devastating effects of poverty she has seen over her 25 years of experience in relief work with organizations like the United Nations.
The Christian Aid leader said the primary leader of poverty in Ethiopia and other regions is climate change. When ground becomes infertile, survival is at stake.
“Those who suffer the worst consequences of environmental disaster are those outside the developed areas,” said Mukwashi.
She added that the biggest offenders in carbon emissions (the USA, Europe, Russia, China) feel the least impact.
“Everywhere Black / Asian / Minority Ethnic people are ‘at the bottom of the food chain’ and living in extreme poverty around the world. In the UK, children of color are more likely to be in care and less likely to be legally adopted. Where ethnicity intersects with gender, women of color will find themselves most disadvantaged,” said the tedNEWS report, paraphrasing Mukwashi.
Although understanding the reasons for this state of affairs is complicated, slavery and the form of capitalism that prevails in society today, is a major cause of such inequality and injustice, according to Mukwashi.
‘The church was not only actively involved and engaged in grading black Africans as sub-human’, said Mukwashi. ‘It provided a rationale and gave permission for people to do so.’
She added that though the church has evolved in its views, much more remains to be done in the work of restoration.
According to tedNEWS, the presenter said church power and financial structures largely resemble the secular world and power is male-dominated and hierarchical.
“Adventists are not looking holistically at the business of production and consumption.”
Mukwashi said the church is losing its moral capital and must increase efforts to help the poor, work toward greener economies and move toward real gender equality.
“Most of all we can individually be models of inclusiveness, people who are quick to welcome and slow to exclude. God has dignified us so we must bring dignity to others. And poverty is one of the great destroyers of dignity,” summarized the tedNEWS report.
Watch the lecture on the Newbold College of Higher Education Facebook page here.
Amanda Khozi Mukwashi has recently published a book about identity, humanhood and hope: But where are you really from? (SPCK)
Image: Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, the CEO of Christian Aid, tedNEWS
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