Racial Justice Challenge

July 4, 2020: Watch this video and test your awareness. Did you see what was going on? Now go out and change what you notice.

July 3, 2020: Watch Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III preach on "The Cross and the Lynching Tree: A Requiem for Ahmaud Arbery." How does he weave history, the Bible, and today's context together? How can you hear Scripture differently in the light of racial justice?

July 2, 2020: Study the Week Six lesson "Responding as a Community of Faith" from the Facing Racism Study Guide. Unity and diversity seem to be opposing concepts; what are some ways in which unity and diversity show themselves as complementary? How does God’s grace create unity and oneness in a world of such expansive diversity? Why is confession therapeutic? Is reconciliation possible without confession? How does our church confess what we believe? How does our church confess regarding the sinfulness of racism? What are some other creeds/confessions included in the Book of Confessions and what are some of the matters of faith they address? What does repentance look like (see a Pride Repentance Project here)? Can you think of an example in our community? What is one small step our church can take to repent of racism and live into the New Creation?

July 1, 2020: Read “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh (1989). Out of those 26 statements, how many are true for you? What are one or more ways in which you've had unearned disadvantage in your life? What are one or more ways in which you've had unearned advantage in your life?

June 30, 2020: Watch the TED Talk “How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them” by Verna Myers. Have you ever discovered biases you didn't know you had? What are your 'defaults'? Who do you implicitly feel connected to?

June 29, 2020: Study the Week Five lesson "Enduring Legacy of Racism in the US" from the Facing Racism Study Guide. Does any of this information surprise you? Why or why not? How has the enduring legacy of racism affected you and your family? What does it mean if the answer to that question is not readily apparent? How does racism play a role in the structures of our community, including business, education, and policing? Do you see the realities of mass incarceration and immigration in our community? How might our church take one small step towards justice in one of these areas?

June 28, 2020: Visit the Presbyterian Intercultural Network’s website. Read the eight steps to ending racism. What could this decade bring as a transformative church? What can you envision for God's kingdom on earth?

June 27, 2020: Read the Confession of Belhar. Reflect on how our church is using and living into it. Which "we believe" strikes you as the core of being a Christian?

June 26, 2020: Study the Week Four lesson "Racism 101" from the Facing Racism Study Guide. In what ways have you experienced racism directly or indirectly in your life? Through your observation and/or experience, how do you think the church has handled such issue of racism in society and also in the church? What are some obstacles and stumbling blocks that we must overcome in order for us to move toward the Beloved Community, the New Creation? If you overheard a discriminating comments or racially insensitive jokes being made by one of your friends or someone from your church or at work, what actions would you take towards those who make those remarks? What one small step can our church take in order to eradicate racism in our society and in our church? 

June 25, 2020: Take an implicit bias test here. From their site: "The Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. The IAT may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about." For the purposes of this challenge, please select the 'race' test, but you are welcome to take any additional test as well to explore your implicit bias. (Information about the data security for this Harvard project can be found here.)
Are your results surprising? Or are they what you expected? What difference can it make when we are more aware of our implicit biases?

June 24, 2020: Today, we pause to take a moment to intentionally process and reflect. What have you learned so far? What has been surprising? What seems hard to believe? Reflect with a friend or in writing.

June 23, 2020: Watch the PBS documentary “Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools.” Where did you first learn about these sort of boarding schools? Does Christianity call for assimilation, integration, or something else? What does it mean to be one body with many members?

June 22, 2020: Choose a resource on the Doctrine of Discovery to read from facingracism.org. 

June 21, 2020: Study the Week Three lesson from the Facing Racism Study Guide.

Read our mission statement ("Rooted in God's love and grace, we worship, learn, give, and connect, refreshing people with Living Water. We reach out to share the Water with all who thirst.") and examine it for similarities and common elements to the Great Ends of the Church. The Micah passage gives a straightforward formula for what the Lord requires. How many elements of this formula are apparent in your mission statement? Can you think of instances where the church has been successful in promoting social righteousness? Examples of where it has been less successful in recognizing and promoting social righteousness? 

What kind of divisive issues have you experienced in the church and what are some of the common elements they share with issues of race and racial justice? What are some of the most effective ways of advocating Christian values? Are there points at which the line should be drawn? When have you been required to take a stand for Christian principles and values? What was the outcome?

June 20, 2020: Read what youth at the 2016 Triennium learned about environmental racism.
For your Arlington bonus content, click here to see the Mayor's proclamation of Juneteenth. What is the core for the American dream? What can our church do to make that dream more accessible for more people?

June 19, 2020: Watch the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s webinar, “Impact of Environmental Injustice on Low Income and Communities of Color.” What did you learn? What intersectional issues do you see here?

June 18, 2020: Read the resolution and rationale of the 223rd General Assembly of the PC(USA) on environmental racism. Consider: What surprises you about this resolution? Is environmental racism a new term for you? 

June 17, 2020: Study the Week Two lesson from the Facing Racism Study Guide about Beloved Community and the New Creation. 

Consider with a partner or in writing: Is the term “beloved community” familiar to you? If so, who taught you this phrase?  What is the closest experience of community you have had to this vision? What made that community possible? Was it a diverse group? Why or why not? How might our church community move one small step closer to beloved community?

What associations or feelings does “New Creation” evoke for you? How might issues of ecology be related to issues of racism? How could our church community move a bit closer to New Creation?

Also, read the AISD's Resolution on Racial and Social Equity from last week. What surprises you about this resolution? What encourages you about this step from our school board?

June 16, 2020: Watch an updated version of the Clark doll experiment, which explores how early-in-life ideas of racial inferiority and superiority are internalized.
Consider: how does this experiment make you feel? Did the experiment go the way you thought it would? Why or why not? What does this experiment reveal about structural racism?

June 15, 2020: Study the Week One lesson from the Facing Racism Study Guide, reading the introductions and the Scripture lessons. Then consider these questions: 1. Which of these four biblical foundations for anti-racism work (creation, image of God, diversity, and justice) speaks most powerfully to you? Why?
2. The Bible has often been used to support racism. What are some ways you have heard or seen this happen?
3. How can our church community counter racist interpretations of the Bible?
Discuss with a partner or reflect in writing.

June 14, 2020: Read the PC(USA) churchwide antiracism policy here. Click here to listen to testimony by ruling elder and WPC member Les Brooks (please note: there is no picture, only audio).