Some Learnings from a Summer 2020 Parish Discussion Group
A group of 15 to 18 St. Augustine parishioners (depending on the evening) gathered virtually this past summer for four weekly sessions to talk about racism and our privileges as white people. Our discussions were centered on Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s recent book titled, “How to Be an Antiracist”. We grew through our questioning and our sharing, and we began to identify some new perspectives. We urge anyone reading these words to also read Dr. Kendi’s book and to consider joining in on a conversation about race. We feel it is so important to ourselves and to our society to do so.
One key point from Dr. Kendi’s book that we addressed is that to be antiracist, we cannot be silent. Silence implies compliance. Instead, to be antiracist, we need to respond to the reality that blacks, indigenous people and people of color do not have the same opportunities and are not treated the same as white people, while our Scriptures and our Church tell us something quite different which is that each of us is a child of God.
A second key point from our summer 2020 discussions is that there are numerous ongoing and lingering policies and practices in our society that prevent so many people from having equal opportunities. Lingering effects of past policies and some remaining policies and practices are a primary source of our white privilege. For all of us to be able to be totally free and to love as fully as possible as children of God, such policies and practices need to be changed and their effects need to be eliminated. Black people, for example, are no more dangerous or violent than those of us that are not Black; instead, they are more likely to become angry because of effects of some policies on their lives.
We who met this summer will continue our discussions, and we invite you to consider joining us. We will continue to become more aware of how God’s love works in our lives, we will learn more about our history (including Black history in America), and how we can respond to racism challenges. As Fr. Cliff shared with us on Trinity Sunday a few months ago, we commit ourselves to doing better and that the promised land is not the promised land until everyone is included in the promise. Helpful resources are available to all of us as we continue our journeys. You are invited to join us as we continue our conversations. Call the parish office at 315-638-0565 as your next step.
The Summer 2020 Antiracism Discussion Group