ARC of Racial Justice

 

The ARC of Racial Justice

From Slavery to Civil Rights, to the Present Moment–A Call to Action

FEBRUARY 2021 RACIAL JUSTICE CHALLENGE MONTH
Sponsored by the Racial Justice Task Force
First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette
Every Monday in February, an email will go out to the congregation with resources and links to a particular category/theme related to Racial Justice.


Please click this link to access the February 1st Be The Change email.

 

Monday, February 1, 2021
Poetry, Prose, and Essays
Please click this link to read Maya Angelo’s poem, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021
History We Didn’t Learn in School
Please click this link to view the New Deal program and how African American families were discriminated against in their attempts to purchase a home.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Family, Kids, and Youth
Reading for Racial Justice – Focus on Fiction with non-white protagonists.
“Being intentional about the books we choose to read with our children can help them identify with all kinds of people and help counteract the damaging message that whiteness is normative.” – Lindley Traynor, Director of Children and Family Ministry.

Click this link to read Lindley’s message about the importance of reading with and for our children and how to develop our home libraries with a focus on diversity.

Click here for this week’s recommended titles. All choices center on Black characters and almost all are the work of Black authors and illustrators.

Thursday, February 4, 2021
Today’s Leading African American Voices
John Lewis was an American politician, statesman, and civil rights activist who served in the House of Representatives for more than 30 years until the time of his death last summer. Please click here to read more about this outstanding statesman, John Lewis.


Please click this link to access the February 8th Be The Change email.

 

Monday, February 8, 2021
Poetry, Prose, and Essays
Amanda Gorman, age 22,  inspired millions of Americans who tuned into Presidential Joe Biden’s Inauguration on January 20 of this year with the passionate delivery of her poem, “The Hill We Climb.” Please this link to learn more about Amanda Gorman and be inspired by her poem.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021
History We Didn’t Learn in School
Reparations are restitution payments for slavery that are paid to the descendants of enslaved people. Please click this link to learn more about the reparation program.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Family, Kids, and Youth
Reading for Racial Justice – Focus on Fiction with non-white protagonists. “Being intentional about the books we choose to read with our children can help them identify with all kinds of people and help counteract the damaging message that whiteness is normative.” – Lindley Traynor, Director of Children and Family Ministry.

Click this link to read Lindley’s message about the importance of reading with and for our children and how to develop our home libraries with a focus on diversity.

Click here for this week’s recommended titles. All choices center on Black characters and almost all are the work of Black authors and illustrators.

Thursday, February 11, 2021
Today’s Leading African American Voices
Robin Rue Simmons
is the alderman of Evanston’s 5th Ward, a civic entrepreneur, and the chief architect behind our neighboring suburb’s reparations program which was approved in November 2019.
Please click this link to learn more about the work Robin Rue Simmons has done for African Americans in Evanston.

Friday, February 12, 2021
Recent Accounts of Racial Inequities
The “War on Drugs” initiated during the Nixon era and expanded by subsequent administrations resulted in a dramatic growth in incarceration. This led to the United States currently having the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Sentencing policies, implicit racial bias, and socio-economic inequity contribute to racial disparities at every level of the criminal justice system. People with arrest and conviction records are routinely blocked from getting jobs, housing, and educational opportunities by federal, state, and local statutes. In addition, felony convictions commonly result in the permanent loss of an individual’s voting rights in 48 states. Please this link to learn more about the inequity that contributes to racial disparities.

Saturday, February 13, 2021
Call to Action
Attend virtual worship
at a Black church in our community and compare the experience with that of worshipping at FPCW. Please click here to learn more about the local Black churches in our community.


Please click this link to access the February 15th Be The Change email.

 

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021
History We Didn’t Learn in School
The real story behind African American Spirituals:  Far more than just work songs for African American slaves, these sacred songs usually carried dual meanings, hidden information, and the goal of escaping slavery.  Additionally, the question arises:  who should sing these pieces?  Only people of color?  Click here to find out more…

Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Family, Kids, and Youth
Reading for Racial Justice – Focus on Fiction with non-white protagonists. “Being intentional about the books we choose to read with our children can help them identify with all kinds of people and help counteract the damaging message that whiteness is normative.” – Lindley Traynor, Director of Children and Family Ministry.

Click this link to read Lindley’s message about the importance of reading with and for our children and how to develop our home libraries with a focus on diversity.

Click here for this week’s recommended titles. All choices center on Black characters and almost all are the work of Black authors and illustrators.

Thursday, February 18, 2021
Today’s Leading African American Voices
Stacy Abrams is an American politician and activist, lawyer, and author.  Over the past decade, her name has become synonymous with voting rights as she organized a movement in Georgia (Fair Fight Action) that boosted voter turn-out in the state, resulting in Joe Biden’s winning the Presidential election in 2020, thereby turning a traditionally Republican state blue.  Biden’s victory was followed by the January election of two Democratic senators from the state, giving Democrats control over the US Senate for the first time in a decade. Please click this link to learn more about Ms. Abrams.

Friday, February 19, 2021
Recent Accounts of Racial Inequities
In most American families, “The Talk” has traditionally referred to a parent/child discussion about sex, protection and physical and emotional maturity.  However, in Black families, there is a second “Talk” that parents have with their children that is equally…if not even more important. Please click here to learn more about how Black parents share with their children important life lessons through “The Talk.”

Sunday, February 21, 2021
Grounded in The Word
Humanity is made in the image of God,
male and female, of every race and people. We are all therefore image-bearers of God, with equal worth, value, and dignity. And yet our differences are also valuable. God loves variety and diversity. Racism falsely proclaims that difference is negative, rather than evidence of God’s abundant creativity. Five years ago, our national church published a powerful and compelling statement, Facing Racism, that delves into the biblical and theological rationale for the urgent work of racial justice. Please follow this link for a brief excerpt.


Please click this link to access the February 22nd Be The Change email.

 

Monday, February 22, 2021
Poetry, Prose, and Essays
“Lift Every Voice and Sing”
was written and composed by the Johnson brothers, a pair of influential men from Jacksonville, Florida. James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson worked together their whole lives, first in show business and later in pursuit of civil rights.  They believed that artistic and cultural excellence was the key to the advancement of Black people in America. Click here to learn more about the history and cultural impact of this song and to hear a range of voices singing this beautiful song.

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021
History We Didn’t Learn in School
The Tuskegee Airmen

African American pilots were not allowed to fly for the U.S. military in World War I. Even after the Harlem Hellfighters of that war proved the courage and ability of Black soldiers in combat, a 1925 Army War College classified report concluded among other things that the intelligence of African Americans “was lower than that of whites” and that they lacked courage, were superstitious, and were dominated by moral and character weaknesses. Others – African Americans and white Americans – believed differently and advocated for change. Please click here to learn more about the Tuskegee Airmen.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Family, Kids, and Youth
Reading for Racial Justice – Focus on Fiction with non-white protagonists. “Being intentional about the books we choose to read with our children can help them identify with all kinds of people and help counteract the damaging message that whiteness is normative.” – Lindley Traynor, Director of Children and Family Ministry.
Click here to read Lindley’s message about the importance of reading with and for our children and how to develop our home libraries with a focus on diversity.
Click here for this week’s recommended titles. All choices center on Black characters and almost all are the work of Black authors and illustrators.

Thursday, February 25, 2021
Today’s Leading African American Voices
Ibram Kendi is one of America’s foremost historians and leading anti-racist scholars. He has become one of the country’s most in-demand commentators on racism and is the founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. In 2016, Kendi won the National Book Award for non-fiction with his book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. At 36, he was the youngest author ever to win the prize. Since then, he has published several more books including How to be an Anti-Racist in 2019 and Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America 1619-2019 which was just released this month. Kendi was included in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020. To learn more about this leading anti-racist scholar please click here.

Friday, February 26th, 2021
Recent Accounts of Racial Inequities
Nearly 87 years ago in May 1954, Brown vs. Board of Education determined that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional, celebrating a defining moment in US history. But the promise of that court decision remains elusive. A new report from UCLA’s Civil Rights Project shows that, since 1988, the number of “intensely segregated minority schools” (those that enroll 90 percent to 100 percent non-white students) has more than tripled. Today, the pandemic continues to exacerbate divides along race and class lines, leaving behind low-income students—disproportionately students of color—who may lack the necessary technology to engage in remote learning. Please continue to learn more about the disparities that exist in our current educational system…most of which pre-date the current pandemic. Please click this link to learn more about the many issues around this important subject.

Sunday, February 28th, 2021
Recent Accounts of Racial Inequities
Our final challenge for the month brings us back to the biblical and theological foundations of this crucial ministry. Dismantling racism is essential to the gospel, for it breaks God’s heart, as does anything that separates us from God’s vision of love and peace and justice and flourishing for all. Like last week’s Sunday challenge, we’ve selected another powerful excerpt from the PC(USA)’s antiracism policy adopted in 2016, “Facing Racism: A Vision of the Intercultural Community.” Read in click this link to grapple with more what the Bible and church tradition have to say that invite us into this deep and urgent work.

A-Awareness

Start by increasing your awareness of the issues involved in racism in our country. History and context are important.  Some resources are:

READINGS

PODCASTS/VIDEOS

VISIT

R-Relationships

Some action steps that help develop interracial relationships:

 C-Commitment

Committing to improving the lives of others who experience racism starts with each of us. It is a life-long endeavor.  By speaking out, we commit ourselves to making our world more just.

  • Put a Black Lives Matter sign in your yard, or bumper sticker on your car
  • Learn about Reparation efforts
  • Publicly denounce racism
  • Vote
  • Give money
  • Support Evanston’s 5th ward’s Laundry Cafe project
  • Support the Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Start and sign a petition to make Juneteenth a National Holiday
  • Go on a pilgrimage. Let Pastor Jeff if you are interested in joining a group to visit locations in Chicago that would help us know more about racism within our own city, and if you’d be interested in a trip to the center of the civil right history–Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma, Alabama  [watch the HBO documentary, linked above to learn more about the new  Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration]