The Anti-Racism Ministry Team 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.
LETTER FROM THE ANTI-RACISM MINISTRY TEAM
REGARDING AHMAUD ARBERY
“Seize the Moment: Anti-Racism Resources for This Time”
Austin Channing Brown
Online: TheoEd Talk: The Double-Sided Pursuit of Racial Justice,
Book: I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World for Whiteness. Convergent Books, 2018
From a leading voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up Black, Christian, and female that exposes how white America’s love affair with “diversity” so often falls short of its ideals.
Miguel De La Torre
Online: 2020 Next Church National Gathering – Keynote
Book: Burying White Privilege: Resurrecting a Badass Christianity. Eerdmans, 2018.
Short. Timely. Poignant. Pointed. Burying White Privilege is all of these and more. This is the book that everybody who cares about contemporary American Christianity will want to read. Many people wonder how white Christians could not only support Donald Trump for president but also rush to defend an accused child molester running for the US Senate. In a 2017 essay that went viral, Miguel A. De La Torre boldly proclaimed the death of Christianity at the hands of white evangelical nationalists. He continues sounding the death knell in this book.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.
Beacon Press, 2018.
In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.
Online: Interview from 2017 National Book Festival
Book: Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America.
St Martin’s Press, 2017.
Short, emotional, literary, powerful―Tears We Cannot Stop is the book that all Americans who care about the current and long-burning crisis in race relations will want to read. As the country grapples with racist division at a level not seen since the 1960s, one man’s voice soars above the rest with conviction and compassion. In his 2016 New York Times op-ed piece “Death in Black and White,” Michael Eric Dyson moved a nation. Now he continues to speak out in Tears We Cannot Stop―a provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.
Online: 2019 Next Church National Gathering – Keynote:
Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racial Unjust America. Abingdon Press, 2019.
With a foreword by Tim Wise, Raising White Kids is for families, churches, educators, and communities who want to equip their children to be active and able participants in a society that is becoming one of the most racially diverse in the world while remaining full of racial tensions. For white people who are committed to equity and justice, living in a nation that remains racially unjust and deeply segregated creates unique conundrums.
Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation. Eerdmans, 2014.
In this provocative book Jennifer Harvey argues for a radical shift in how justice-committed white Christians think about race. She calls for moving away from the reconciliation paradigm that currently dominates interracial relations and embracing instead a reparations paradigm. Harvey presents an insightful historical analysis of the painful fissures that emerged among activist Christians toward the end of the Civil Rights movement, and she shows the necessity of bringing “white” racial identity into clear view in order to counter today’s oppressive social structures.
A deeply constructive, hopeful work, Dear White Christians will help readers envision new racial possibilities, including concrete examples of contemporary reparations initiatives. This book is for any who care about the gospel call to justice but feel stuck trying to get there, given the ongoing prevalence of deep racial divisions in the church and society at large.
Book: So You Want to Talk About Race
Seal Press, 2019.
In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America. Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.
Online: An Open Conversation with Bruce Reyes-Chow
Book: But I Don’t See You As Asian: Curating Conversations About Race. BRC Publishing, 2013.
In “But I Don’t See You as Asian: Curating Conversations About Race” Bruce Reyes-Chow curates a collection of cringe-inducing statements about race such as, “If they can say it, why can’t I?” ” “Do you know martial arts?” and “He’s a different kind of Black,” hoping to turn awkward moments into a dialogue between friends.Sitting in the sweet spot between lectures in academia and activism on the streets, Bruce invites the reader into a salon type of atmosphere where he directly addresses thoughtless words and diversionary tactics, such as dismissing racial discussions as being impolite or avoiding race conversations altogether. He invites the reader to chuckle, gasp, and perhaps nod in understanding as he lists the kinds of statements often used against persons of color in a predominantly white culture. But rather than stopping there, Bruce asks readers to swap shoes with him and reconsider their assumptions about race.Useful for individual reading, or as a tool for opening group and community discussions, “But I don’t see you as Asian” puts one person’s joys and struggles on the table for dissection and discovery.
Online: Racial Equity in Philanthropy
Book: Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance. Berrett-Koehler, 2018.
Decolonizing Wealth is a provocative analysis of the dysfunctional colonial dynamics at play in philanthropy and finance. Award-winning philanthropy executive Edgar Villanueva draws from the traditions from the Native way to prescribe the medicine for restoring balance and healing our divides.
Book: I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation.
Chanequa Walker-Barnes offers a compelling argument that the Christian racial reconciliation movement is incapable of responding to modern-day racism. She demonstrates how reconciliation’s roots in the evangelical, male-centered Promise Keepers’ movement has resulted in a patriarchal and largely symbolic effort, focused upon improving relationships between men from various racial-ethnic groups.
CBS Morning Show: “Race for Justice,” interview with Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi (June 5, 2020)
Sociologist and author of “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism,” Robin DiAngelo, and CBS News contributor Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” joined “CBS This Morning” during its Race for Justice special on Friday to answer questions about white privilege and racism.
A resolution adopted by the Governing Board of the
North Carolina Council of Churches, June 2, 2020.
Statement on Systemic Racism
LINKS & RESOURCES
21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge by Eddie Moore
PCUSA RESOURCES & INITIATIVES:
“Racial Justice Resources,” – what is for now a one-page list of resources to help bring about racial justice in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the wider world, is now available. The list of resources will grow as more resources are developed. Resources are arranged in six categories: Statements from the PC(USA); Worship Resources; Policy Statements; Recommended Books; Study, Training and Discussion Materials; and Articles. Click here to view what’s currently offered.
Beyond protests, how can you and your church bring change? – Suggestions from the Rev. Jimmy Hawkins, Director of the PCUSA Office of Public Witness
FROM THE PC(USA) CHURCH STORE:
LIST OF ANTI-RACISM RESOURCES – Resources intended to begin anti-racism work either individually or with your church community.
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 ANTI-RACISM
Decolonizing Wealth – is a provocative analysis of the dysfunctional colonial dynamics at play in philanthropy and finance. Award-winning philanthropy executive Edgar Villanueva draws from the traditions from the Native way to prescribe the medicine for restoring balance and healing our divides.
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.
What Multicultural Congregations Teach About Improving Race Relations
Baylor University’s Masters in Social Work online program created a new guide about the role multicultural congregations play in creating places of healing and reconciliation for people of different races and ethnicities. This resource also includes actionable strategies organizations can use to encourage stronger relationships among their members. You can find the resource here:
“What Multicultural Congregations Teach About Improving Race Relations”
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…