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Racial and Ethnic Justice/Equity

As we encounter an ever more diverse and interconnected world, it is incumbent upon us to consider racial and ethnic differences, and to show a willingness to look at our own implicit biases.

To this end, Holy Name Province has begun to amass a number of resources for use in our houses, ministries and beyond.

To add to the list, contact Fran Eskin-Royer in Holy Name Province’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.

 

WEBSITES:

Racial Equity Tools is a resource for a variety of topics or studies pertaining to racial justice and equity.

Implicit Bias: A subset of Racial Equity Tools focused on unconscious or hidden bias, negative associations that people unknowingly hold.

Race Forward is another repository for resources on racial justice and equity.

 

TOOLS:

Harvard University’s Implicit Bias Test: This online test could be an interesting exercise for friars and their lay partners to become aware of their own biases.

Racial Dynamics to Watch For: This is a worksheet from Everyday Democracy that talks about racial dynamics in community building. There are many salient points here that apply to how friars conduct ministry and how we might increase our awareness of white privilege and biases when working within a diverse ministry context.

Dialogue for Affinity Groups: Another tool from Everyday Democracy that gives tips on how an “affinity group” (a homogenous community) can talk about the complex issues of race, especially as they minister within a diverse population. This worksheet corresponds with other exercises from Everyday Democracy.

 

ARTICLES:

Hope at Risk” (Anthony Walton)

Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building” (Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Contributing Writers: Donna Bivens, Barbara Major). A document that talks about basic concepts of racism and white privilege, specifically within the context of community building (organizing, but also applicable to ministry within the framework of HNP)

How America’s Diversity Explosion is Changing the Political Landscape” (William Frey)

 

BOOKS:

The New Jim Crow (Michelle Alexander)

Racism without Racists (Eduardo Bonilla-Silva)

Interrupting White Privilege, Catholic Theologians Break the Silence (Laurie Cassidy)

Racial Justice and the Catholic Church (Bryan Massingale)

Systemic Racism: A Theory of Oppression (Joe Feagin)

Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Paolo Freire)

Pedagogy of Hope (Paolo Freire)

 

ORGANIZATIONS:

The Racial Equity Institute in Durham, NC offers racial equity training.

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, CT offers school programs as well as salons (facilitated conversations on social justice issues including implicit bias, racism and white privilege).

 

SPEAKERS:

Racial Sobriety Forum

Held Sat. Apr. 23, 2016 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m) at St. Andrew Parish in Clemson, SC

Contact: Dan McLellan, OFM

The parish invited Rev. Clarence Williams to give a presentation on his book Racial Sobriety.

His presentation was followed by a panel of local responders, and then an open floor discussion.

From one of the participants: After reading Fr. William’s book, Racial Sobriety, I came to the workshop with doubts about how the discussion would go. The discussion, facilitated and led by Fr. Williams went well. The lasting thought for me is that there are many cultures is our county and racism is present in many of them.

 

APPROACHES/PROGRAMS:

RACIAL AWARENESS AND RELIGIOUS EXCHANGE (RARE)

Ongoing program at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Raleigh, NC

Contact: Tom Zimmerman

RARE is an effort to build relations and understanding across racial and religious differences. The program’s initial aim was to promote dialogue between The Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi and the Baptist Grove Church through Racial Study Circles.

This version of RARE grew out of an interracial study circle program originated by the YMCA. These study circles were a 5-week (once a week) commitment of approximately equal numbers of Caucasians and African-Americans from the two different churches who met and discussed race-based questions presented in a study guide.

The goal of these study circles was to provide a safe environment within which to dialog about sensitive racial issues and to establish a better understanding of each other’s viewpoints. When these study circles ended, there was a desire on the part of many of the participants to continue the interracial and interdenominational relationships that had been established during the 5-weeks of study. The group decided to continue to meet monthly as long as the participants wished to do so.

As of 2017, these monthly meetings have continued for about 15 years and have resulted in the formation of many good friendships that extend outside of our meetings. Members have a very strong, shared commitment to community service that we try to exercise together on different occasions. In February 2017, many members of the group will march with the Moral Monday supporters in Raleigh to protest various legislation that we consider harmful to people.

At this point in time, RARE is not a strictly structured program. At the end of each year, members sign up to host one of the monthly meetings in the coming year. Each meeting host provides a simple meal and has the option to choose a discussion topic or to invite a speaker. Meetings usually begin with a shared prayer and incorporate spiritual readings and discussion, along with the main discussion topic, which is usually about race, religion or culture. Occasionally, one of the friars will attend a meeting.

At this time, the study circles are no longer offered, due to difficulty in recruiting participants from the two churches. The group now gains new members organically, by having current members invite others into the group. We do our best to keep the group balanced with similar numbers of Caucasian and African-American members, as well as similar numbers of Catholics and Baptists. A Muslim couple recently joined the group, enriching the diversity.