Task Force Recommendations to the People of Christ Church
The Dismantling Racism Task Force (members listed at the bottom of this page) began its work in late July 2020 as the Racial Reconciliation Task Force. The Task Force soon changed its name after reflecting on the historically slow progress made under the reconciliation model. The current state of racial injustice in this country has amplified past and present problems and urgently calls us to engage in creating lasting solutions. Reconciliation remains a goal for healing and is part of a larger need, which is to examine, become educated, and to take action to dismantle systemic racism.
The context of our use of the word “racism” is not limited to individual biases, conscious and unconscious. Significantly, the context also incorporates the system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representation, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing, ways to perpetuate racial inequity. Our use of the term “systemic racism” encompasses dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privilege associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time. Systemic racism is not something that only a few people or institutions choose to practice; rather, it has been and remains an endemic feature of the social, economic, and political systems that shape all of our lives.
Over the past nine weeks, the Task Force has met and also consulted with additional groups, churches, institutions, and individuals with the goal of formulating a proposed approach for Christ Church to adopt in defining and initiating our vital work of dismantling systemic racism. Dismantling racism takes intentionality and perseverance. It is a life-long, sometimes messy process but is so critical as we seek to live more deeply into our Baptismal call and ministry: to respect the dignity of all people. Our hope is that this journey will be deeply compelling and transformative to us as individuals and communally as a congregation: that we will become a church even more infused with love than we are now.
We are so grateful to you, the many members of Christ Church, who have expressed interest in participating with us in this most important work, and we look forward to engaging with you as we move forward.
To view the original recommendations of the Dismantling Racism Task Force from October 2020, click here.
Resource Materials + Five Books to Put on your 2021 Reading List!
The resource materials collection published by the task force in October 2020 continues to be available. It is our hope, as we expand this collection over time, that these materials continue to provide opportunities to acquire a more in-depth understanding of the problems of systemic racism in our communities and country. We welcome your suggestions of additional materials for inclusion in future editions. Please contact Charlotte Wooten for recommended additions or if you have questions.
To begin the new year, we suggest reading:
Keynote Speakers: Christ Church is offering a series of keynote speeches in the fall and spring (via Zoom) that speak to the importance of the work of dismantling racism. We will also explore Christ Church’s own history around race, tracing back nearly 200 years. Contact: The Rev. Mary Davila.
Civic Engagement and Advocacy: The Environmental Justice team is focused on the proposed Downtown South development project in Raleigh to build understanding of all components of environmental justice, including storm water management, community preservation, and gentrification. The team seeks to build capacity within our congregation for evaluating development, growth and change in our community and advocating for just use of our environmental resources. Contact: The Rev. Mary Davila
For an update about the Downtown South Project (as of January 15), 2021, please watch the Adult Christian Formation session with The Rev. Jemonde Taylor, Rector of St. Ambrose Episcopal Church. The video will be released on Monday, January 17.
Small Diverse Groups through the Encouraging Place: Small groups are beginning in February and will be facilitated by Reggie Edwards, director of The Encouraging Place. These small groups will provide an opportunity to engage in brave spaces where honest, meaningful, and transformative conversations around dismantling racism can take place. Our small groups will foster strong bonds and open hearts, allowing us to share, question, and learn at the same time. Until it is safe for groups to meet in person, they will be virtual, with guided discussions and shared leadership. While Reggie Edwards will be the overarching guide for each group, discussion leadership will be rotated among the members of each group,. Please contact Kim Shirley if you are interested in being a part of this rich experience.
The Inner Work of Racial Justice: The Inner Work of Racial Justice Initiative will hold its first monthly meeting on Monday, January 25, initially discussing the book of the same name and exploring mindfulness practices offered there. Please know that all are welcome and that no prior experience in meditation or mindfulness practices is necessary in the least.
As stated on the cover flap of the book: “[T]he work of racial justice begins with ourselves. When conflict and division are everyday realities, our instincts tell us to close ranks, to find the safety of our own tribe, and to blame others. The practice of embodied mindfulness — paying attention to our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in an open, nonjudgmental way — increases our emotional resilience, helps us to recognize our unconscious bias, and gives us the space to become less reactive and to choose how we respond to injustice.”
Racial Equity Institute Anti-Racism Trainings: Christ Church is hosting its first Racial Equity Institute (REI) Phase I workshop from Friday, Jan. 22nd, through Saturday, Jan. 23rd. Although this session is filled, spots are available for the April 23-24 offering (9:00 am to 5:00 pm both days).
REI is an established organization that works to heighten awareness of the root causes of racial injustices reflected in American culture and institutions and has helped to formulate a common language approach to better support positive conversation and interaction as we pursue the hard work of social transformation and racial justice. Please contact Steve Sartorio for more information or to sign up for the April REI workshop.
Below is REI’s mission statement, as well as a link to their website.
“REI is a Black-owned business comprised of a multiracial team of organizers and trainers who are committed to the work of anti-racism transformation. Our training and consulting programs are designed to help individuals, organizations, and communities grow their understanding and analysis of structural racism and its cultural and historic roots. With committed work, over time, we believe that organizations can develop the consciousness and tools necessary to challenge patterns of power and to grow equity.”
Dismantling Racism Task Force