Racial Equity Challenge

Dear Friends,

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:

  • Deepen our understanding of race and racism in our society and its effects on individuals of color
  • Broaden our own perspective by listening to viewpoints and experiences that may be different from our own
  • Reflect on these new learnings with others as we work to truly understand these perspectives

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:

  • Alamance Presbyterian Church, Greensboro NC
  • First Presbyterian Church, Boone NC
  • Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church, Blowing Rock NC
  • Sedgefield Presbyterian Church
  • Starmount Presbyterian Church, Greensboro NC
  • UKirk Campus Ministries – Greensboro NC
  • Westminster Presbyterian Church, Greensboro NC
  • Oak Ridge Presbyterian Church, Greensboro NC

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.

In Christ,
Charlie Lee


Join These Starmount 21-Day Challenge Change Makers!


 

Starmount 21-Day Challenge Small Group Discussions are underway!

Contact Cathy Ingram (csingram@gmail.com) if you’d like to join one of these weekly Zoom discussions:

  • Sunday 6:30pm, led by Jan Epps-Dawson
  • Monday 4:00pm, led by Jim Fisher
  • Wednesday 6:00pm, led by April Hamilton

After 3 weeks of discussions, the groups would like to recommend the following additional resources that their members have found particularly insightful:

Books

  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  • Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson
  • White Rage by Carol Anderson
  • White FragilityWhy It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

Series on Prime Video:

  • Wilmington on Fire”
  • “The Kerner Report
  • The Black Clansman”

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.

Join the Challenge

 

What bearing does race have on law enforcement and the criminal justice system?

 

“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.”

― human rights lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (adapted into a recently-released feature film)
→   Watch his 23-minute TED Talk.

“Every time I see a police officer, I get a cold chill. . . . Even if I needed one, I wouldn’t call one.”

― African-American Greensboro native James Fields
→  Read this October 2015 NY Times article by journalists Sharon LaFraniere and Andrew W. Lehren, The Disproportionate Risks of Driving While Black, which examines Greensboro’s record of traffic stops

“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.”

― journalist Kate Elizabeth Queram
→  Read her November 2015 Greensboro News & Record article Greensboro police halt minor traffic stops in response to racial disparity concerns

“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.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.
→   Watch this 3-minute YouTube video, A Riot is the Language of the Unheard
→  Read King’s entire speech, The Other America, which includes the language from the video listed above

“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.”

― September 2016, Greensboro Police Department Directives Manual
→  Read this updated section of the Greensboro PD Manual, BIAS-FREE POLICING

“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.”

― Justin Outling, GSO City Council
→  Read his June 2020 News & Record opinion piece, Frisking of young runner should not have happened

What do people mean when they use the terms systemic racism, or institutional racism?

 

“It’s just the way things ARE here”

― from an “Adam Ruins Everything” episode on tru TV
→  Watch this 6-minute segment, The Disturbing History of the Suburbs, that tells, with humor, how redlining came to be

“According to the [recently released housing] report, these areas [of poverty in Greensboro] are mostly made up of black people – around 82 percent”

― journalist Sayaka Matsuoka
→   Read her Triad City Beat article, Highly-segregated areas of poverty on the rise in Greensboro

“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.”

― journalist Stacey Vanek Smith
→  Listen to this 3-minute National Public Radio story, Black Americans Bear The Brunt Of The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Economic Impact

“Even when racism doesn’t go viral, it’s still deadly.”

― opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof
→   Read his NY Times column, Opinion: What if There Were No George Floyd Video?

 “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.”

― Chuck Collins, one of the authors of an Institute for Policy Studies report, “The Ever-Growing Gap: Failing to Address the Status Quo Will Drive the Racial Wealth Divide for Centuries to Come”
→   Read journalist Joshua Holland, writing for The Nation, The Average Black Family Would Need 228 Years to Build the Wealth of a White Family Today

 

Resources for Children

 

Children’s Book:

God’s Dream by Desmond Tutu

 

Picture Books:

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

 

Video Resource:

CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall Video

 

What do people mean by the term white privilege?

“In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.”

― author Toni Morrison
→   Read this National Museum of African American History & Culture article on Whiteness.

“Most people are at least a little racist, even if they don’t know it.”

― from Brave New Films
→   Watch Racism is Real, a 3-minute video depicting differences in white and black experiences.

“’I don’t see color’ is really a way to say ‘I refuse to acknowledge your reality‘”

― Robin DiAngelo
→   Watch her 4-minute video from Think/NBC News, Debunking The Most Common Myths White People Tell About Race

“The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.  They make one story the only story.”

― Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
→   Watch her 18-minute TED Talk, The Danger of a Single 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.”

― journalists and siblings, Julie Devaney Hogan and Erik Devaney
Read their Medium.com article 3 White Privilege Blind Spots in Boston That Are Keeping Us Racist

“Government boosts for white people were invisible to my father.”

― sociologist Betsy Leondar-Wright
Read her impactpress.com article, Climbing the White Escalator

“Saying ‘All Lives Matter’ redirects the attention from Black lives, who are the ones in peril.”

― journalist Lizz Schumer
Read her goodhousekeeping.com article What Black Lives Matter Means (and Why It’s Problematic to Say “All Lives Matter”)

 

How can we talk to our children & teenagers about race?

“The worst conversation adults can have with kids about race is no conversation at all,”

— historian Jemar Tisby
→   Watch How to Talk to Kids About Race, his 3-minute animated video from The Atlantic.

“These conversations are rarely easy, and sometimes we don’t have answers.”

― author Dana Williams
→   Read her booklet Beyond the Golden Rule:  A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center

“I just want my kid to grow up, to be old.”

― Melanie Carrington, parent of a child of color
 →   Watch this 4-minute video from CBC Radio-Canada, Parents face difficult conversations with children after George Floyd’s death

“ . . . I think that you should let children know that most police officers work to protect them and their community.”

— clinical psychologist Erlanger Turner
→   Read journalist Alia E. Dastagir’s article in USA Today, George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. What do we tell our children?

Is there anything I can I do to change things? 

“It’s not enough to say ‘I am not racist.’  . . . We are either racist or we’re anti-racist.  . . . There’s no in-between.”

― Jonathan Lee Walton, Dean of Wake Forest Divinity School
→   Watch his 8-minute video We Have a Choice, which explores how Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” calls us to action today

“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.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.
   Read King’s entire Letter from a Birmingham Jail , addressed to local clergy

“Can you imagine our country embracing young black men?  Seeing them as part of our future?”

— lawyer and activist Verna Myers
   Watch her 18-minute TED Talk How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them

“Saying you’re an ally [of blacks] is much easier than actually being an ally.”

― writer Amélie Lamont
   Read her article, GUIDE TO ALLYSHIP:  An evolving open-source guide to help you become a more thoughtful and effective ally 

“Google whether your city or town currently employs evidence-based police de-escalation trainings.”

— one of 75 suggestions from writer Corinne Shutack
→   Read her article on Medium.com, 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice, and evaluate the merits of the “75 Things.”

“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.”

— Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. UNCG Chancellor
→   Read his letter to university students, faculty, and staff:  A Message from the Chancellor

“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.”

— Rev. Dr. Brian K. Blount, President of Union Presbyterian Seminary
→   Read his Statement on the Death of George Floyd

Resources for Youth

 

Online Groups:

Be the Bridge Youth
This group has both an instagram and podcast that are worth following. Their website is full of anti-racist resources.

The Institute for Youth Ministry – Princeton Theological Seminary

 

Videos:

So You Want to Talk About Race video from Ijeoma Oluo

 

Books:

Well Read Black Girl reading list

African American Literature Book Club’s list of ALL Coretta Scott King Award winners and honorees

 

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