The Racial Justice Ministry (RJM) has developed a plan for 2022 to engage congregants in the communal and individual work of antiracism. We know many of you long for opportunities to both work together as well as have resources for individually staying abreast of new insights into antiracism work. As a result, we are announcing a series of activities that encourage you to do both.
In January, we will be announcing the details of a congregation wide 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge. This is not going to be a competition – it is an invitation for each of you to consider spending five to twenty minutes a day for twenty-one days learning something new, considering an alternative viewpoint, demonstrating allyship, or just thinking about your own spiritual journey related to antiracism. You decide how much time you have each day from a long list of resources and suggestions. The goal is to build intentionality into this work and take it from being a “challenge” to becoming a lifelong habit in furthering the work of justice. Take a look this month at the kinds of thing that are available.
In early January, we will offer an online discussion of two resources RJM members found helpful to kick off the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge. Feel free to read ahead – the exact date and Zoom link will be posted on Facebook and in church emails in mid-December:
- This podcast interview with John McWhorter, author of Woke Racism: You don’t need to read his book, just listen to the podcast or read the transcript. Ask yourself – are we being genuine and acting with humility in our antiracism work or are we ever being performative and the worst connotation of “woke”?
- This New York Times article about a school mural that caused conflict and a lose/lose situation. How could that have been turned into a win/win situation? This work will create potential conflict or feelings of competing oppressions. How do we pay attention to the intersectionality of oppressions while not losing sight of the historic uniqueness of racial inequity?
During January, we will also offer several online check-in moments for those interested in discussing what they are reading, experiencing, learning during the 21-day challenge. Sign up for this small group experience will also go out in mid-December. The antiracism journey evokes lots of unexpected emotions – we find it is helpful to talk about them with others on the same journey. RJM has had many of these check-in moments in the last two years and we have found them critical to our understanding of the work and our individual role in the work.
In early February, we will do a large group online closing discussion about the 21 day challenge – come prepared to share something that moved you deeply, made you upset, brought out unexpected emotions, gave you a new perspective, etc. This is our time to share with each other what moved us the most. Since we will all choose different resources and experiences during the twenty-one days, this will be an opportunity to learn from each other. There is no one way to do this work – let’s crowdsource the resources and learn from each other. Again – we will announce the specific date and Zoom link on Facebook and in church emails in mid- December with reminders in January.
RJM has just created a draft set of expectations for all members, leaders and the church about the work of antiracism as part of our work in holding the church accountable to the 8th Principle. We will be introducing this draft during the sessions in January/February and in future online discussion forums planned for at least every two months. We will be asking for your reaction to the draft and will be reaching out to specific committees and ministries for input on how these would influence their work. RJM is committed to getting lots of feedback before making a recommendation to the board for adopting any set of expectations. We know this will take months and it is worth the time to get it right and have the buy-in from members and committees/ministries.
Fingers are crossed that we will be able to have in-person discussions and Speaker forums in the Spring of 2022 but the work can’t wait for that anymore. Join us in January and February online and “create community in order to change the world.”