Given the history of the Presbyterian Church and Chicago’s North Shore communities, the Racial Justice Committee is committed to thoroughly, intentionally, and continuously leading First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette and the surrounding communities to root out and dismantle the evils of racism and white supremacy embedded in our social structures. Further, we aspire to have First Pres and the surrounding communities become models for inclusive, anti-racist, and multicultural places of worship and living. Nothing is more central to Christian beliefs than the sharing of Christ’s love among all people regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances. Love, in turn, seeks justice for all of God’s children.

During the summer of 2020, our nation watched the news footage of the brutal killing of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis. First Pres Wilmette joined the worldwide outcry of disbelief and horror about the event and, as a church, we felt strongly that God was calling us to respond. The Racial Justice Committee was formed and inspired by the very first words of Scripture which teach us that we are all created in the image of God, of every race and people, to live as one community (Genesis 1:26-27). We aim to follow the ministry of Jesus, in word and deed, to embody the ways of love, break down the dividing walls of hostility between people, and let the kingdom of God emerge in the most unlikely places.

This group meets regularly, working to build awareness, develop relationships, and commit to dismantling racist structures, laws, and policies. If you would like to know more please, contact Pastor Jeff Lehn.

We welcome you to read our 2021 report and 2022 report. An archive of our news and announcements appears below.

EXPLORING WHITENESS WORKSHOP SERIES

The Racial Justice Committee will host two additional sessions on Thursdays in February (22 and 29) to explore and discuss white identity, privilege, fragility, and supremacy. Each session will begin at 7:00 pm in the Church Lounge and conclude at 8:30 pm. Participants need not attend on both dates. Please see the flyer for detailed…

Read more

RACIAL JUSTICE PILGRIMAGE PRESENTATION

Travelers to Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham will show photos, share stories, and invite conversation about how we might build on their pilgrimage experiences to do the work of justice in the Chicago area and beyond. Join pilgrimage participants in the Wallace Moore Fellowship Center on Sunday, February 11 at 11:00 am for a presentation and…

Read more

Our Call to Racial Justice: Environmental Justice

The U.S. EPA defines Environmental Justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” Communities of color disproportionately experience high pollutant and water contamination levels due to close proximity to hazards (Environmental Justice…

Read more

Our Call to Racial Justice: Diversity and Inclusion

Do you know the difference between diversity and inclusion? Having one doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the other. Diversity is the presence of differences, while inclusion is the practice of ensuring that people feel welcome, respected, supported, and valued. This effort shouldn’t be limited to workplaces, it should stand wherever and whenever we gather…

Read more

Racial Justice Outreach: Understanding Mass Incarceration

Mass incarceration creates a social justice problem, a racial justice problem, a community problem, and an economic problem. First Pres Wilmette’s Racial Justice Committee invites you to learn more about mass incarceration and how you can get involved in criminal justice reform. To get involved in our church’s work, reach out to the church office…

Read more

Racial Justice Pilgrimage

In November, FPCW will be sponsoring a racial justice pilgrimage to a number of important historic civil rights sites in Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery, Alabama. While specific plans for the pilgrimage are still in the development stage, the itinerary will most likely include the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma; the Legacy Museum, the National Memorial…

Read more

Shorefront Legacy Center – Redlining

REDLINING The term “redlining” has come to mean racial discrimination of any kind in housing, but it comes from government maps first created in the 1930’s that outlined areas where Black residents lived and which were, therefore, deemed risky investments. As early as 1924, North Shore realtors were discouraged from “introducing members of any race…

Read more

Shorefront Legacy Center Exhibit – Ebenezer A.M.E. Church

Shorefront Legacy Center Exhibit On October 30, 1882, Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church was established as Evanston’s first recognized black church. Ebenezer A.M.E. took on issues affecting its community such as “Jim Crow” and segregated housing. During the 1970’s, Ebenezer A.M.E facilitated a black history education program.

Read more

Shorefront Legacy Center Exhibit

Shorefront Legacy Center Exhibit The Shorefront Legacy Center exhibit is open in our Chapel until the end of February! If you didn’t get to see it last Sunday – or you want to see it again – stop in any Sunday in February before or after church, with your small group if you meet at…

Read more

Shorefront Legacy Center Exhibit

Shorefront Legacy Center Exhibit to Open in Our Chapel on January 29 The Racial Justice Committee is pleased to announce that Evanston’s Shorefront Legacy Center’s traveling exhibit will be open in our Chapel on January 29 from 11 am to noon. The exhibit focuses on Black History on Chicago’s Suburban North Shore. The center is a…

Read more

Racial Housing Descrimination

Although the Fair Housing Act was signed into law in 1968, housing discrimination still exists. Fair housing laws are intended to protect people from discrimination in housing transactions such as rentals, sales, lending, and insurance. Unfortunately, racial discrimination in housing still persists today, contributing to the ever-growing disparities in wealth, education, health and employment opportunities.…

Read more

Our Call to Racial Justice: Hidden Bias

Our Call to Racial Justice: Hidden Bias Hidden bias, implicit bias, blind spots; these are all ways to describe the unconscious bias, prejudice or judgements we all make about people around us all of the time. It is something everyone does, no matter your gender or race. It is an evolutionary response our brain adapted…

Read more

Our Call to Racial Justice: Racial Microaggressions

Our Call to Racial Justice: Racial Microaggressions Have you ever heard the term “death by a thousand cuts?” This is a metaphor for the racial microaggressions aimed at people of color constantly and continually throughout their lives. The term microaggression is defined as “an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized…

Read more

Our Call to Racial Justice: Every Voice Heard

As midterm elections approach, it is a good time to remind ourselves of the privilege and responsibility we have as members of a democratic nation to vote. Unfortunately, equitable access to voting rights continues to be denied to many people in our country. Please take some time in the coming weeks to learn about how…

Read more

A Call to Racial Justice: Equity and Equality

  The Racial Justice Committee invites you to delve further into topics around racial inequities to help us follow our call to “learn to do good; seek justice; rescue the oppressed;” (Isaiah 1:17). These links will be provided in the Bulletin and Daily Bread for the next two weeks. You are invited to visit, watch and…

Read more