The Racism Task Force of the Presbytery of Charlotte was created by Council to address systemic and individual racism found within our presbytery. In light of the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia the Racism Task Force endorses the following letter by Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Reverend T. Denise Anderson and Reverend Jan Edmiston, Co-Moderators of the 222nd General Assembly of the PC(USA) and Tony De La Rosa, Interim Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
Read the letter at the PC(USA) website.
Download PDF of the letter to share with your congregation.
Download a response letter from the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic.
Read a letter from the Leadership of Charlotte Presbytery
The Racism Task Force of the Presbytery of Charlotte is called by God to discover and address the systemic and individual racism found within our presbytery. We seek to encourage and equip our churches and individuals to engage in interracial dialogue, relationship building, and dismantling of racism efforts in the communities throughout our seven counties.
LINKS & RESOURCES
PCUSA RESOURCES & INITIATIVES
Learn about the PC(USA)’s new Facing Racism campaign. From books, to studies and special training, we’re sharing a wealth of antiracism resources with the greater church as we strive to become the beloved community God calls us to be. The first set of resources for Presbyterians comes from the antiracism policy Facing Racism: A Vision of the Intercultural Community. The document contains background information, including historical references and theological frameworks.
The six study guides that accompany this policy paper are highlighted as a series of hour-long conversations adults and youth can use to explore the Bible and racism, study racial reconciliation and learn to respond to racism as a community of faith.
Confession of Belhar
As part of the Facing Racism antiracism campaign, the PC(USA) is offering resources based on the newest addition to the Book of Confessions, the Confession of Belhar, adopted by the 222nd General Assembly in 2016. These resources include workshop materials introducing Belhar to the church, a video explaining what Belhar is and why it is important in the Reformed tradition, and study guides on the Confession of Belhar. CLICK HERE
‘Freedom Rising’ Initiative
The PC(USA) is taking specific action to confront the societal and racial issues facing black communities in the U.S. by living into a new church initiative to address the plight of African American males in our country. The pilot initiative follows an action approved by the PC(USA) 222nd General Assembly (2016) in Portland, Oregon, which calls for the church to support programs to assist African American males in five cities: Baltimore—where the General Assembly will meet in 2020—Charlotte, Cleveland, New York and Pittsburgh.
The initiative’s name, “Freedom Rising: The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) outreach to young African American males” honors the memory of the late Rev. Eugene “Freedom” Blackwell. The Pittsburgh pastor, who died August 30 due to complications of bone cancer, was a co-author and Pittsburgh Presbytery’s overture advocate for the “On Taking Specific Action to Address the Worsening Plight of the African American Male” (10-03) resolution passed by General Assembly.
In adopting the resolution, the General Assembly encouraged all PC(USA) congregations to support the “Freedom Rising” initiative by giving their portion of the recently taken Peace & Global Witness Offering to help fund programs being developed in the pilot cities.
Give now at: presbyterianfoundation.org/freedom
FILMS AND VIDEOS ON RACISM:
Colorblind :Rethinking Race (watch video on Vimeo)
Do we really live in a colorblind society? The Emmy Award winning documentary, Colorblind: Rethinking Race, examines institutional racism in health, wealth, education and the justice system.
Thirteenth (on Netflix)
An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality. In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.
BOOKS ON RACISM
Ending Racism In the Church – Boldly speaking to church members everywhere, Ending Racism in the Church raises awareness of how racism influences behavior and spawns hatred. Four case studies describe church or community agencies that strive to end racism, then a diverse group of scholars and activists identify the subtle ways in which racism undermines the gospel’s spirit. A guide is included to help groups discuss issues that separate the church. Ending Racism in the Church is an invaluable aid to church members of all backgrounds.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal.
Between the World and Me
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
Waking Up White: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race
Waking Up White is the book Debby Irving wishes someone had handed her decades ago. By sharing her sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, she offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As Irving unpacks her own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, she reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race. She also explains why and how she’s changed the way she talks about racism, works in racially mixed groups, and understands the antiracism movement as a whole. Exercises at the end of each chapter prompt readers to explore their own racialized ideas. Waking Up White’s personal narrative is designed to work well as a rapid read, a book group book, or support reading for courses exploring racial and cultural issues.
Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength
Black women are strong. At least that’s what everyone says and how they are constantly depicted. But what, exactly, does this strength entail? And what price do Black women pay for it? In this book, the author, a psychologist and pastoral theologian, examines the burdensome yoke that the ideology of the Strong Black Woman places upon African American women. She demonstrates how the three core features of the ideology emotional strength, caregiving, and independence constrain the lives of African American women and predispose them to physical and emotional health problems, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and anxiety. She traces the historical, social, and theological influences that resulted in the evolution and maintenance of the Strong Black Woman, including the Christian church, R & B and hip-hop artists, and popular television and film. Drawing upon womanist pastoral theology and twelve-step philosophy, she calls upon pastoral caregivers to aid in the healing of African American women’s identities and crafts a twelve-step program for Strong Black Women in recovery.
In Living Color, An Intercultural Approach to Pastoral Care and Counseling
The meaning of pastoral care in modern multicultural societies is challenged and re-examined from a pluralistic, global perspective in this book. Emmanuel Lartey stresses the importance of recognizing different cultural influences on individuals in order to effectively counsel, guide and empower them. He provides a clear and concise history of pastoral care and considers its relationship to different models of counseling and spirituality.
Becoming a Multi-Cultural Church
In Becoming a Multicultural Church, Bowers reflects upon and shows how churches can benefit from the experience of First Congregational Church of Randolph, Massachusetts – the church she pastors – once a historically “traditional” one social grouping church, but now a “multicultural” church and one of the numerically largest churches in Randolph. She offers practical strategies and explores the processes involved, in a conversational style that will make it an easy read for pastors.
Injustice and the Care of Souls:
Taking Oppression Seriously in Pastoral Care
Pastoral care is often focused on individual problems, but much of what harms and impedes us stems from the larger social maladies at work in our lives. This unprecedented gathering of two dozen essays discusses the realities of racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, and classism prevalent within the church and society in an effort to broaden and inform pastoral caregivers with the knowledge and the skills needed to respond effectively to oppressed and marginalized persons. The volumes also help pastors to reflect on the ways their own social location has an impact on their ministries and to gain familiarity with resources available to support pastoral caregivers in a variety of contexts.
Gracism, The Art of Inclusion
“The parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.”
1 Corinthians 12:23. When people deal with color, class or culture in a negative way, that’s racism. But the answer is not to ignore these as if they don’t matter. Instead, we can look at color, class and culture in a positive way. That’s gracism. Pastor David Anderson responds to prejudice and injustice with the principle of gracism: radical inclusion for the marginalized and excluded. Building on the apostle Paul’s exhortations in 1 Corinthians 12 to honor the weaker member, Anderson presents a biblical model for showing special grace to others on the basis of ethnicity, class or other social distinction. He offers seven sayings of the gracist with practical examples for building bridges and including others. A Christian alternative to secular models of affirmative action or colorblindness, gracism is an opportunity to extend God’s grace to people of all backgrounds.
SCHOOLS / EDUCATION RESOURCES:
The CMS Board of Education holds regular monthly meetings, open to the public, on the second and fourth Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. Meetings are held at the Government Center, 600 East Fourth Street, unless indicated otherwise on the meeting schedule.
Citizens have the opportunity to address the Board of Education at the first regular Board meeting of each month. Speakers will be given up to three minutes. Documents from speakers will be placed in board member boxes and will not be distributed during the meeting. Sign up to speak by calling Board Services, 980-343-5139 option 4, by 12:00 p.m. the day of the meeting or at the dais prior to the call to order. Public Hearings provide citizens the opportunity to address the board regarding new policy or policy revision. The schedule of public hearings can be found here.
OneMECK Coalition is an alliance of Mecklenburg County organizations and individuals that says:
YES to fair, equal and excellent educational opportunity for all CMS students; and
NO to policies and practices that maintain high-poverty schools and neighborhoods.
NEA Diversity Toolkit
From the National Education Association. This online toolkit provides an introduction to the multiple facets of diversity. It offers basic information, a short list of strategies and tools, and suggestions for how to find out more. Neither the short list of topics in this toolkit nor the content within each topic is meant to be exhaustive.
COMMUNITY & OTHER ORGANIZATIONS:
Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice
We gather from different traditions from a call to do what is JUST. Charlotte is the place we call home, but that does not mean that it is immune to acts of violence, discrimination, sexism, racism, and a myriad of other injustices. The Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice is a conglomeration of clergy from a variety of faith traditions seeking Justice for those marginalized within our city. Our call is one of Love and Compassion.
Founded in 1987 as Mecklenburg Ministries, MeckMin is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization of nearly 100 member congregations representing more than a dozen faith traditions. MeckMin promotes interfaith collaboration to foster understanding, compassion and justice.
Global Lives Project
The Global Lives Project celebrates the diversity of human experience through video, and encourages discussion, reflection, and inquiry about the variety of cultures, ethnicities, languages, and religions on our planet. Our goal is to foster empathy and cross-cultural understanding.
Through our video collection, we offer an intimate window into the lives of others around the world. Our collection consists of 24-hour, day-in-the-life, raw, unedited footage of 20 everyday lives in 17 countries, and we extend a unique opportunity to educators to bring our video footage and curriculum into their classrooms and school communities.
RESOURCES ON DELIBERATIVE DIALOGUE
What is Deliberative Dialogue?
Advocates of deliberative dialogue build on a long history of engaging the public. Since colonial town meetings in the 1600s, Americans have engaged in various forms of dialogue as a means for individuals to share opinions with each other in a democratic manner. Read more…