What happens when you open up to listening about racism? For some, it is something in the past, but for many there are daily reminders of past or current practices. As Christians, we strive to be like Jesus; recognizing the existence of racism is step one to fighting for justice and bringing wholeness to ALL of God’s people.
What happens when you open up to listening about racism? The Presbyterian Mission Agency has launched the Matthew 25 initiative, a calling to boldly and compassionately serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned, or poor. The second focus of the Matthew 25 initiative IS dismantling structural racism, challenging us to take the 21-day racial justice challenge as individuals, churches, and mid councils. The PC(USA) has a churchwide antiracism policy, “Facing Racism: A Vision of the Intercultural Community,” that can be found at facingracism.org.
What happens when you open up to listening about racism?
We are about to find out. The 223rd General Assembly (2018) reconstituted the Special Committee on Racism Truth and Reconciliation with the sole responsibility to conduct a listening campaign and submit recommendations to the assembly. Taking in 14 members representing teaching elders, ruling elders, and members, alongside the leadership of Denise Anderson and Valerie Izumi, including established Moderator Byron Wade, the committee was solidified. The committee met in March at New Life Presbyterian Church, in College Park, Georgia, for training. We were led by Jessica Vazquez Torres in “Exploring the Intersection between Personal and Institutional Racism.” From there, the committee divided up into teams in the areas of process, creating questions, historical data, and theological framework. Through online meetings, shared documents, and using the helpful resources of Research Services, the Special Committee on Racism Truth and Reconciliation is moving forward and coming to the people —concentrating on those with voices long silenced. Is this you? Do you have a story to share? Is it someone you know? Share our information and purpose with them.
Look for us at the following events:
- National Black Presbyterian Caucus, June 27–29, Atlanta
- Native American Women’s Gathering, July 12–14, Seattle
- Presbyterian Youth Triennium, July 16–20, Purdue University
- Big Tent, August 1–3, Baltimore
- CoInspire, October 7–10, Montreat
- Mid Council Leaders Gathering, October 17–20, Baltimore
If you will not be at these events, look for other ways to share with us. More information will be coming on how to share with the Special Committee on Racism Truth and Reconciliation (RTR).
What happens when we open up to listening about racism? This will hurt, but through hurt is where we, as the PC(USA), bring healing. Pray for the RTR committee members, pray for those who are sharing their stories, and pray for an end to the injustice of racism.
What happens when you open up to listening about racism? You open up yourself to do God’s work. Our committee is working on the listening campaign, but all of us can practice listening, noticing, and loving.
Open up yourself to listening about racism. Listen to the stories of God’s people around you. Be observant, be aware, and show your Christian love to your neighbors.