Nearly 100 participants gathered Saturday, September 19th, at the Compton Heights Christian Church in St. Louis from the congregations across the Mid-America Region, Disciples Reconciliation Ministry, Metropolitan Congregations United the National Benevolent Association and Loretto Volunteers for a day of worship, exploration, confession, pilgrimage and hope.
Among the topics discussed were systemic racism and institutionalized white privilege. Among the more moving moments were those in which those who daily live under the cloud of danger for no other reason than the color of their skin shared their experiences.
Here were some memorable take-aways from the day:
- Racism = Prejudice plus Power
- "Racialized" - a condition in which some people live under constant if subtle threat of oppression or attack because of race
- "I've been asleep for 45 years."
- "Only whites can fix white racism."
- "Whites are fickle allies."
- Flesh tone Crayola crayons were what color? Whose flesh is the standard?
- "I was born on third base and thought I had hit a triple." (Jeff Moore on white privilege)*
- Color blind racism ("I have black friends, so, I'm not racist or privileged.")
- "Our analysis is tainted." (We cannot come at issues of racism from any other vantage point than our own and that reference point is not neutral.)
- Serial charity is no substitute for justice.
There were documents provided with information about resources for addressing racism. Among them was a protocol for regions, congregations and general units to respond when violent incidents occur nearby that calls for assistance at several levels to victims, their families, and others involved. More proactive strategies were also discussed including meeting with local police, elected officials and judges to assure that all are adequately trained and aware of Disciples concern that all lives matter and our willingness to work for justice for all.
Story and photographs courtesy of Regional Minister Team member Rev. Bill Rose-Heim.
* find his list of resources on racism and white privilege here
Find more information and resources from the event at NBA here.