A well-attended workshop brought Dalit activists and theologians together to discuss caste discrimination, within and beyond the church, addressing challenges and ways forward. The workshop formed a part of the 11th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Karlsruhe, Germany, which took place in September 2022.
Activists from across India and Nepal spoke about the need to end divisions, discrimination and dehumanisation and global church representatives called on churches and ecumenical organisations to recommit themselves to dismantling discriminatory practices that deny dignity and justice.
The ensuing conversation inspired sharing of similar experiences from other countries where caste discrimination occurs, such as the UK and US. There were also affirmations of solidarity from Palestinian activists, and declarations of advocacy support.
The workshop and the exhibition space “Come, Let’s talk about your justice and mine” were facilitated by the Student Christian Movement of India SCMI with support from the Asia Desk of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Church of Norway, Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciple of Christ), and the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN).
The visibility of and conversations around the Dalit struggles for justice and inclusion in Karlsruhe also inspired the WCC to mention these in four major Assembly documents.