Some of the topics we have studied thus far include Racism, Environmental Justice, the Doctrine of Discovery, and Implicit Bias. We have found that it is particularly valuable for us to do this study in the context of a church community. As Christians, we affirm Jesus’s commands to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves, and Paul’s proclamation in the letter to the Galatians, that “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) These core principles have given us a particular Christian lens with which to study, learn, and begin to act together regarding racial justice.
Here are a few quotes from our participants that highlight what we are learning as we hit the half-way point of our time together.
“I have always been interested in history. This study has revealed much about our history that has been purposely omitted in the curriculum that we have been taught. This study has also pointed out that over the years the systems of oppression are inherent in the very core of our country. These systems were instituted many years ago but the effects of them are still present in our current society. We have a lot of work to do to be the people God calls us to be.” Linda R
“It is impossible to list only one thing, but I will try. It is confirmation that our knowledge of these issues is not simply facts or statistics. No. It is the lives of our brothers and sisters -and all people are our brothers and sisters. Not just Christians, or people who vote like us.” Sue S
“White people are racist whether we want to be or not because the American culture caters to the needs of white people.” Debbie B
"The group discussion revealed how focused I can be on what I think is important, when I am unintentionally blinding myself to the injustices around me. I also thought it eye opening to review how racism has created pockets of injustice by limiting some communities to access of water, safety, natural beauty, and clean air. The damage is insidious, yet real. Whether or not a person can live in the place of their choice is so often pre-determined by generational attitudes, creating a climate where some are more “equal” than others. When learning about environmental racism it dawned on me that each of us can act by welcoming others into our lives, our neighborhoods, and our communities." Margaret K