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Race in America

Week Three Challenge

August 19, 2020

30 Day Dismantling Racism Challenge

Week Three

We’re about half way through CPC’s Dismantling Racism Subcommittee’s 30 Day Challenge. Thank you for participating so far! We hope that you’ve found the activities from weeks one and two informative, rewarding, and empowering and that you’re ready for week three! Please see the details below for the activities for the third week of the challenge. Even if you’ve only participated in a few activities over the past two weeks or perhaps you haven’t completed any yet, don’t let that stop you from diving into these activities or some from the past two weeks. Our goal should be to at least try some of these activities and actions. Every step we take to educate ourselves and act to address racism in ourselves and society, no matter how small, takes us closer to dismantling those racist structures. We are all part of the solution!

August 15th

Theme: Share What You’ve Learned
Challenge: Mid-point in the Dismantling Racism Challenge, time to assess
Details:  What have you learned so far, especially appreciated, or wished had been included? Write a sentence or two (or more) about your learning or what else could have been included.

  1. Just tuck what you wrote into your Challenge materials or a journal, and/or
  2. Send your thoughts and ideas to Jeff Bolognese (email hidden; JavaScript is required) for the committee’s consideration in future planning

August 16th

Theme: Learn about current issues around Racial Injustice
Challenge: Learn about the church’s historical role in promoting racism and what they have done and are currently doing to dismantle racism
Details:  The church has a complicated relationship with racism. Portions of the church have, in the past, supported or turned a blind eye to issues of racism and white supremacy while other parts of the church have been powerful forces for combating those same evils.

  1. Explore the Christian Church’s role in promoting White Supremacy in the US by listening to this NPR story that highlights some of that history, including Presbyterian minister James Henley Thornwell.  This story is 7 minutes long.
  2. Learn what PC(USA) is doing about Racial Justice Issues. And sign up to participate in the August 19th “Reform to Transform” Worship Service sponsored by the Baltimore Presbytery’s Dismantling Racism Group.
  3. Watch the video “Racism and the Church – Where do we go from here?” This video is 11 minutes long.
  4. Watch Episode 7 of “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” hosted by Emmanuel Acho. This episode is on Race vs Religion and features Carl Lentz, senior pastor of Hillsong Church NYC. The video is 19 minutes long.
  5. Read about how one PC(USA) church addressed its history of racism to begin mending it’s relationship with a neighboring church.  “How a pandemic brought healing to a centuries-old racial wound”
  6. Explore this Discussion Guide from Sojourners (https://sojo.net/) on Christians and Racial Justice. This series is designed to spark discussion and thought about how to live out God’s call for justice in our world. This guide includes four sessions, each with Sojourners articles, questions for discussion, and ideas for further study.

August 17th

Theme: Support minority owned businesses
Challenge: Explore black and other minority authors
Details:  Buy books, choose TV shows and movies that portray people from different races and that teach real American history. Choose to read one or more of these books or articles and share them with others:

  1. Suggested articles: The Injustice of This Moment Is not an ‘Abberation’ by Michelle Alexander (New York Times columnist) Her other articles include: Let Our People Go and America,This is Your Chance, The Newest Jim Crow
  2. One of perhaps the most famous Science Fiction authors is Octavia E. Butler, who received multiple awards (including some of the most prestigious in science fiction) and written over a dozen novels.  If you’re looking for a sample of her work, read her short story, “Speech Sounds” here.
  3. Maya Angelou, acclaimed American poet, author and activist often referred to as an spokesman for African Americans, her gift of words connected all people who were “committed to raising the moral standards of living in the United States.” Read: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
  4. James Baldwin, though he spent most of his life living abroad to escape racial prejudice in the United States, he is the quintessential American writer. Read: Go Tell it on the Mountain.
  5. Zora Neale Hurston, was a preeminent Black female writer with more than 50 published novels, short stories, plays and essays, read The Complete Stories. This is a collection of Hurston’s short stories and essays, many of which were published in magazines and newspapers throughout her life. The collection “reveals the evolution of one of the most important African American writers. Spanning her career from 1921 to 1955, these stories attest to Hurston’s tremendous range and establish themes that recur in her longer fiction.”
  6. Alaya Dawn Johnson has just released a novel: Trouble the Saints. Set in the glittering underbelly of an alternate New York City at the dawn of World War II, this brilliant novel weaves a historical portrait on racism and generations of injustice.

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August 18th

Theme: Educate yourself on topics around Diversity and Inclusion
Challenge: Learn about White Privilege
Details:  The concept of “White Privilege” is frequently misunderstood as an implication that White people did not “earn” their accomplishments.  More accurately, White Privilege means that the obstacles that White people may have encountered in their lives were not due to their skin color.  Understanding and being able to accurately explain this concept to others is critical in helping us understand systemic racism. These resources will help in that understanding.

  1. Learn about White Privilege by reading the essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh
  2. Read “Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person” by Gina Crosley-Corcoran
  3. Watch the video “Privilege/Class/Social Inequalities Explained in a $100 Race”. The video is 4 minutes long.
  4. Watch this video with Dr. Robin DiAngelo (author of the book “White Fragility”): Deconstructing White Privilege. This video is 22 minutes long.

August 19th

Theme: Join Up
Challenge: Consider becoming involved in organizations that encourage voting rights and work to counter efforts to suppress voter turnout
Details:  Voter suppression still occurs 55 years after passage of the Voting Rights Act. Congressman John Lewis a civil rights leader who helped bring about the Voting Rights Act said, “You have to use your vote because it is not guaranteed, you could lose it. It’s the most effective nonviolent tool you have.” In 2 years (2016-2018) 17 million people have been removed from the nations voting roles. Explore these organization and the actions they are taking to improve voter access.

  1. To obtain some understanding about the current state of voter suppression, read the article entitled, The New Voter Suppression, which discusses what has occurred over the last decade as states have enacted voter restrictions that disproportionately disenfranchise racial minorities and distort our democracy.  Less than 10 minutes to read, provided by The Brennan Center for Justice.
  1. Fair Fight was founded by Stacey Abrams after the Georgia elections of 2018.  This is the first paragraph from their website describing who they are.  Please proceed to the website to learn more: https://fairfight.com/about-fair-fight/

We promote fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights. Fair Fight brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in other voter education programs and communications.

We promote fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights. Fair Fight brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in other voter education programs and communications.”

  1. League of Women Voters, fighting voter suppression, just one of their many objectives.  Proceed to their website as they discuss why it matters and what they are doing about it.  https://www.lwv.org/voting-rights/fighting-voter-suppression
  2. Should voter suppression be of further interest to you, here is a resource entitled 8 Voting Rights Organizations to Know Before the 2020 Elections.  https://www.bustle.com/p/8-voting-rights-organizations-to-know-before-the-2020-elections-roll-around-13156367

August 20th

Theme: Seek Out Minority Voices
Challenge: Children’s books Highlighting Diverse Characters and Race
Details:  Share books with your kids or other young family members that address race and feature diverse characters. If you or a friend is an educator, consider buying said friend books that feature people of color as protagonists and heroes, no matter the make-up of their class. Consider purchasing books by black authors for your grandchildren and read them together (even over Zoom!). You could also donate books to a pediatrician’s office for use in the waiting room or donate to a local shelter. Talk to our pastors at CPC about donating one or more of these titles for the youngest members of our church community to read. Some to consider are:

  1. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Ann Hazzard, Marianne Celano, and Marietta Collins, 40 pages, ages 4-8
  2. Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester. You can find a video reading of the story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoDUJY9u9Jw
  3. A Kid’s Book About Racism by Jelani Memory.  You can find a reading of the book by the author here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnaltG5N8nE
  4. Colors of Us by Karen Katz, 32 pages, ages 4-8.  A video reading of the book can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=679Sw4IACAk
  5. Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh, 40 pages, ages 6-9.  Find a video trailer for the book here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlyGKQdPePQ
  6. This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell, ages 11-15. Watch the author talking about and reading from the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uJQNaQ-IQk
  7. Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, 240 pages, ages 10-14. Watch the author discuss the plot of the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgIRRZque6M
  8. Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson, 40 pages, ages 6-9. Watch a trailer for this book here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7dypvhe2BE
  9. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, 218 pages, ages 9-12. Watch the trailer for the book here: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/videos/teaching-content/one-crazy-summer-book-trailer/
  10. Click here for additional authors, titles, and resources: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YUe9hx8A_mlJr7RWjHLgj_AeYKal_SV560EHw5muV5I/edit?usp=sharing

August 21st

Theme: Learn about the history of race in the US
Challenge: Learn about the origin of the concept of Race and Whiteness
Details:  Explore the history of race in the US in depth.  Take a deeper dive into how race, racism, and slavery have been fundamental parts of how are country was formed and continue to influence society today.

  1. Read the article, How White People Got Made by Quinn Norton.
  2. Look at American History through the lens of slavery by visiting The 1619 Project website (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/1619-america-slavery.html) .  The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.
  3. Watch the three part series: “Race: The Power of an Illusion” (each episode is ~1 hour long and each can be rented for streaming at $3 each or all three for $5).  Each episode cover a different aspect of our racial history:Episode 1 –  RACE: The Difference Between Us examines the contemporary science – including genetics – that challenges our common sense assumptions that human beings can be bundled into three or four fundamentally different groups according to their physical traits.Episode 2 – RACE: The Story We Tell uncovers the roots of the race concept in North America, the 19th century science that legitimated it, and how it came to be held so fiercely in the western imagination. The episode is an eye-opening tale of how race served to rationalize, even justify, American social inequalities as “natural.”Episode 3 – RACE: The House We Live In asks, If race is not biology, what is it? This episode uncovers how race resides not in nature but in politics, economics and culture. It reveals how our social institutions “make” race by disproportionately channeling resources, power, status and wealth to white people.Also visit PBS’s  on-line companion site for even more information.
  4. Take one of the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s self-paced on-line courses in African American History (each course is about $40):African American History since EmancipationThe Life and Writings of Frederick DouglassRace and Rights in AmericaBlack Writers in American HistoryEmancipation
  5. Watch or listen to the Great Courses 30 part lecture series on “America’s Long Struggle Against Slavery.”  Available at “The Great Courses” website ($60) or through  Audible.com ($25). This is 13 hours on Audible.