Wondering how to talk to your children about racism? Or how to respond to racist comments and jokes? Then you might be interested in the work of the Greater Springfield Race & Faith Collaborative:
Over the last few months, those who’ve taken part in initiatives sponsored by the Greater Springfield Race and Faith Collaborative have had several opportunities to draw on resources in the online toolboxes designed to help participants reflect on the various ways that the continuing realities of race and racism affect us personally as well as in our relationships with family and friends.
Now, at the outset of the Third-Quarter initiatives sponsored by the Race & Faith Collaborative, we invite you to consider how we can enhance the relationships that we share with one another in our respective places of worship, business and community engagement. Together we can draw upon the best of our shared values as we work toward equality and dignity for all people in all aspects of life.
Here’s a very simple process for those who’d like to take the next step:
Instead of creating new materials to use as part of the Third-Quarter initiative, we would like to encourage participants to take the lead in one or more of the following action items within the context of their respective places of worship, business and community engagement. You can pick simple, moderate, or in-depth options (or a combination).
SIMPLE (requires little time and planning)
Option 1: Distribute the “Talking to Children about Racism” resources to parents and/or teachers of children and youth. These are ideal for religious education teams in local communities of faith as well as youth group leaders. Also consider posting them on your organization’s website and letting parents and teachers know where they can access them online.
MODERATE (requires a moderate amount of time and planning)
Option 1: Host a viewing of Patrick Mureithi’s DVD “Conversation Starters for Family & Friends” with a small group at your place of worship or business. You might consider hosting a dinner party at your house where friends and/or colleagues can view the DVD together.
Option 2 (for religious leaders): Encourage all the small groups in your respective place of worship (i.e. Sunday school classes, Wednesday night groups, etc.) to devote one session (or, even better, an entire series) to the “25 Things Your Congregation Can Do To Affirm Diversity and Challenge Racism”.
Option 3 (for clergy): Develop and share at least one sermon, reflection or homily devoted to the importance of diversity and equality within your respective religious tradition. Consider leading a special series on the same topic by drawing on the resources available in the “Clergy Toolkit”.
IN-DEPTH (requires a significant amount of time and planning)
Working toward institutional change
• Visit this website to research how your organization can take positive steps toward the pursuit of dignity and equality for all people and begin asking the following questions:
1. Why should we talk about race in my organization?
2. Does race have anything to do with my organization’s purpose and values?
3. Why is it not enough to say, “I’m not prejudiced?”
4. Would my organization and the families we work with be better served if we became an anti-racist, multi-cultural organization? If so, how?
5. What does an anti-racist, multi-cultural organization look like?
• Consider partnering with a trained organization that can help lead your organization through the process of becoming a place that strives for the dignity and equality of all people. The leaders of the Race and Faith Collaborative are happy to provide recommendations of organizations/trained diversity leaders with whom your organization can partner.
• Understand that the work of becoming an organization that moves forward in its goals of striving for the dignity and equality of all people is difficult. It can be full of challenges and struggles. Yet it is also full of great rewards. For encouragment and inspiration, stay connected with other leaders and organizations that are dedicated to the same goals. Together we can do great things and we will be proud to look back together with a profound sense of gratitude for all that we accomplish in the name of dignity and equality.