Recommendation on Becoming an Anti-Supremacist Organization

On April 1, 2021, OMNIA's Advisory Board adopted the following resolution. This was an outcome of the sessions on dismantling supremacies and dismantling patriarchy held earlier in the year.


Whereas supremacy is a widespread and destructive mindset infused in individuals and systems spanning much of the world, which creates hierarchical structures, as well as social, political and economic systems that lead to oppression, domination and violence; and 

Whereas many religions, despite espousing teachings that inculcate egalitarian values, are also caught up in supremacist structures and perpetuate them, contributing to, and participating in the same systems of oppression, domination and violence; and

Whereas supremacy is a substantial obstacle to peacemaking, since anytime one group of human beings decides that they are better than, more worthy than, more capable than, more favored by God than others, collaboration is impeded, and peace is thwarted; and 

Whereas during the year 2020-21 OMNIA has engaged in a series of conversations on many  supremacies such as religious, racial, castist, colonialist, patriarchal and will continue to discuss supremacies over the earth and those economically marginalized;

Be it resolved that the Advisory Board of OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership recommends that OMNIA declare itself an anti-supremacist organization.

Be it further resolved that this recommendation be shared with the Interfaith Peacemaker Teams, in order to receive their input to deepen, expand and describe in fuller detail its method of implementation, before a declaration is made final.


Current Ideas for Implementation

  1. Make a public declaration of OMNIA as an Anti-Supremacist organization
  2. Add a training module in OMNIA’s IP Team training with details of what Anti-Supremacist means This may include the following:
  • Promote the equity rule – i.e. give preference to those who have traditionally been marginalized.
  • Shared Leadership -- by women and men, diverse religious communities regardless of majority/minority status, diverse racial communities etc.
  • Encourage/train marginalized groups including women to become writers, storytellers, poets, artists, musicians, moviemakers etc. to tell stories with those who are marginalized as protagonists.
  • Encourage/train religious leaders to use inclusive language in sacred texts, liturgies, hymnody etc.
  • Encourage/train marginalized groups, including women to run for elected office.


Shanta Premawardhana

President

Shanta Premawardhana is president of OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership. Prior to OMNIA, he served as the Director for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. He was also the Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations at the National Council of Churches, USA. While serving as pastor of Ellis Avenue Church in Chicago, he engaged in community organizing in the Southside of Chicago. He is an emeritus trustee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, National Council of Churches, USA, and Common Cause Illinois. He earned his Ph.D. at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

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