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“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” –1 Cor. 12: 26-27
During the past few months, as we have experienced a pandemic, we have been reminded just how interconnected we are. During the last few weeks, following the death of George Floyd, we have been reminded in yet another way of our interconnectedness; how our actions and our inactions have real effects in the lives of others.
It is the collective desire of our Session, and by extension our church, to speak out against racism and injustice, and to prayerfully consider how we might serve as agents of God’s peace, love, and justice.
As a first step in this process, we must admit we have work to do, listening and learning from voices and perspectives that may be different from our own. Therefore, we are inviting you to participate in this “Racial Equity Challenge.” Through this challenge we hope to:
This challenge has been adapted from similar challenges such as Myer’s Park Presbyterian Church’s “21-day Race Equity Challenge” as well as others. Our congregation will engage in this work alongside several different churches in our Presbytery. After this initial period, we anticipate joining together with these congregations to discuss further learnings and possible actions. We are grateful for all participating churches which include:
Other churches and individuals are invited to join us or adapt this list for their purposes.
After the initial period of 21 days, participating churches will then join together to engage in further discussion and also to bring in outside speakers, engage in panel discussions, and seek partnerships with a diverse range of communities of faith.
Contact Cathy Ingram (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to join one of these weekly Zoom discussions:
After 3 weeks of discussions, the groups would like to recommend the following additional resources that their members have found particularly insightful:
Series on Prime Video:
Film: “The Hate You Give”
This is a great movie for adults and particularly families with adolescents. It was recently chosen for a city-wide virtual discussion sponsored by our chamber of commerce and city libraries’ One City/One Film. Go to https://greensboro.org/onefilm/ for more info and to sign up for the discussion on July 21, 22 or 23.
“We have a system of justice in this county that treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. Wealth, not culpability, shapes outcomes.”
“Every time I see a police officer, I get a cold chill. . . . Even if I needed one, I wouldn’t call one.”
“The Greensboro Police Department will no longer initiate traffic stops for minor infractions such as broken headlights or tail lights, one of a host of changes being implemented to address racial disparities in the city’s dealings with the public.”
“It is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel they must engage in riotous activity as it is for me to condemn riots.”
“Every member of this department shall perform his/her duties in a bias-free manner and is responsible for promptly reporting any known instances of biased policing to a supervisor.”
“We, as a city, must do better. That means working to ensure that persons are not needlessly stopped and frisked in accord with purported city policy, procedures and practices.”
“It’s just the way things ARE here”
“According to the [recently released housing] report, these areas [of poverty in Greensboro] are mostly made up of black people – around 82 percent”
“Black Americans constitute about 13% of the U.S. population. But they hold less than 3% of the country’s wealth. And that means many African Americans can’t afford to stop working.”
“Even when racism doesn’t go viral, it’s still deadly.”
“We have a deep legacy of wealth inequality that undermines the whole idea that we have a meritocracy—that there’s an equal playing field.”
God’s Dream by Desmond Tutu
Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard
Thank you, Omu by Oge Mora
(Doesn’t address racism directly, but it’s a beautiful book for exposing white children to a different race and culture.)
Brian the Brave by Paul Stewart and Jane Porter
“In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.”
“Most people are at least a little racist, even if they don’t know it.”
“’I don’t see color’ is really a way to say ‘I refuse to acknowledge your reality‘”
“The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story the only story.”
“White privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been hard; it means that your skin color isn’t one of the things making it harder.”
“Government boosts for white people were invisible to my father.”
“Saying ‘All Lives Matter’ redirects the attention from Black lives, who are the ones in peril.”
“The worst conversation adults can have with kids about race is no conversation at all,”
“These conversations are rarely easy, and sometimes we don’t have answers.”
“I just want my kid to grow up, to be old.”
“ . . . I think that you should let children know that most police officers work to protect them and their community.”
“It’s not enough to say ‘I am not racist.’ . . . We are either racist or we’re anti-racist. . . . There’s no in-between.”
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
“Can you imagine our country embracing young black men? Seeing them as part of our future?”
“Saying you’re an ally [of blacks] is much easier than actually being an ally.”
“Google whether your city or town currently employs evidence-based police de-escalation trainings.”
“If we are willing, we can provide our children and grandchildren with a better tomorrow. If we are not, this will not be sustainable in the long run.”
“No, this evil of enduring American racism is not just a Christian problem. But for a people who claim to follow a Jesus who died on a cross for all people, and whom we claim reigns in heaven interceding with God for all people, it is an evil we must especially engage.”
Be the Bridge Youth
This group has both an instagram and podcast that are worth following. Their website is full of anti-racist resources.