In response to protests against police brutality and violence triggered by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery in 2020, United Methodist Communications launched an "End Racism" campaign. In addition to national ads, the campaign includes social media and website graphics available for local churches and individuals to use. Online events are planned throughout the coming year. Visit UMC.org/EndRacism for details.
A new effort is uniting the denomination against racism. Church leaders can turn to ResourceUMC.org to find the latest diversity and inclusiveness information and tools, including downloadable campaign graphics. Resources to engage members as they listen, act, speak and pray are available at UMC.org/EndRacism.
Many agencies of the United Methodist Church are providing resources and guidance on how to become anti-racist individuals and churches. But because such a change will not happen unless the whole process is bathed in prayer every step along the way, Discipleship Ministries will provide daily prayers from Monday through Friday.
The Conference Anti-Racism Team issued a statement on the unjust deaths of people of color in 2020 and challenged United Methodists and other people of faith to join them in taking action. Also see ART's Ways to Respond to Racism issued in 2017, but still relevant.
Sign the pledge by August 1, 2020 and commit to completing one educational and one action task to combat racism each month. Tasks are emailed monthly to those who sign. See more anti-racism resources for individuals and churches at wpaumc.org/DiversityResources
Pittsburgh District clergy crafted a letter in response to racism and a string of violent acts against African Americans in 2020. Over two weeks in June, 350 others from several districts signed on to the letter.
Wesley Theological Seminary's Institute for Community Engagement offered this video resource for congregations and small groups to begin conversations about race. It was developed from a March 2015 symposium on “Moving Faith Communities to Fruitful Conversations about Race,” is divided into four 30-minute segments, each based on a question and containing relevant scripture. It's still valid in 2020. The panel discussion is moderated by Michael McCurry, distinguished professor of public theology, and F. Douglas Powe, Jr., professor of evangelism and urban ministry. An article on this topic by Powe, “ Starbucks, Communion, and Race Conversations,” appeared in the May 20 issue of Leading Ideas.
According to child development experts, children begin to note racial/ethnic and gender differences by the time they are two years old. It is important that parents, teachers, pastors and other caring adults answer their questions and guide children to understand that God’s people come in many colors, speak many languages, and may experience life differently based on historic bias and misunderstanding. In the February 2015 edition of ACT, Raising Safe Kids, Glenna Wilson, coordinator of Safe Start program for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, writes about the importance of talking to children at a young age about racial prejudice. She offers a variety of resources to help adults to address the subject with the children in their life. Download Talking to Your Children About Race.
A book and workshop series by Shelly Tochluk, PhD.
Shelly Tochluk spent 10 years as a researcher, counselor, and teacher in California’s public schools. As chair of the education department at Mt. St. Mary's College, she now trains teachers to work with Los Angeles’ diverse school population. Her personal dedication to confront issues of race developed first through her participation on UCLA’s All-American 4X400 meter relay team and later through her inner city teaching experiences. Working with AWARE-LA (Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere-Los Angeles). With this group, she co-created a workshop series that leads white people into a deeper understanding of their personal relationship to race, white privilege, and systemic racism. She also speaks at events to highlight issues of white racial identity.
Learn more and download workshop material at WitnessingWhiteness.com
Read Tochluk's blog at shellytochluk.com
Rethink Church has collected articles that can spark conversations about race, as well as offering episodes of Night Call, one of the first national radio call-in shows. The show, which aired in the 1960s, was aimed at getting whites and blacks to talk to each other — over the airwaves — during a period of incredible racial tension in the United States. The show was created by the church agency that eventually evolved into United Methodist Communications.
Read more and listen to Night Call
The website of the denomination's Commission on Religion and Race (gcorr.org) has a variety of material from several sources designed to spark thought, conversation, and understanding around issues of race and social justice. Visit gcorr.org/resources.
Good people never set out to be racist; in fact most of us likely would describe ourselves as being “anti-racist.” This quick, but powerful resource reminds us that fundamental changes in our approach to racism, as well as well as our underlying assumptions about racism, are required. Download the handout.