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“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’” Jesus, Matthew 25:40
Privilege is when I think something is not a problem because it isn’t a problem for me.
It’s been over 400 years since the first kidnapped humans were brought to these shores. 400+ years of slavery and ongoing oppression of our Black brothers and sisters who were legally relegated to the very bottom rungs of our society for centuries. Despite a constant, heroic, and sacrificial struggle, the equality of Black Americans’ humanity, inherent dignity, and worth have never been fully accepted by the white majority. It has been less than sixty years since legal segregation was outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Our Native American brothers and sisters, since the arrival of Europeans on these shores, have waged a heroic battle of survival through legal genocide, enslavement, the seizure of their lands and rights and children, the continual breaking of treaties up to the present day, and the relegation of their nations to desperately poor reservations. Native Americans living on reservations today do not have access to the same services and programs available to other Americans, even though the government has a binding trust obligation to provide them. This is because, despite a constant sacrificial struggle, the equality of Native Americans’ humanity, inherent dignity, and worth have never been fully accepted by the white majority.
We could speak of the historic and ongoing mistreatment of our Latinx American and Asian American brethren, as well as other immigrants and people of color, because racism is written into the DNA of our nation: built into our systems of education, housing, healthcare, prisons, courts, religious institutions, arts, laws, employment, banking, entertainment, and more. So when talking about healing or fixing the effects of racism in our nation, the reality is that our foundation is not broken, it was made this way. What is required is a new foundation of justice, equality, and equity for all people.
We here at Lighthouse Fellowship UMC are determined to believe and love until the world knows Jesus. We recognize and repent of our own personal, national, and religious racial biases and for the ways in which we have participated in and acquiesced to white supremacy. We continue to learn and inform ourselves as to the depth and breadth of the problem. We stand with Jesus and our diverse community in communion, lament, prayer, and love as we join together with those working to create a more just and equitable society based on God’s love for all people.
Some resources that inform:
Connect: End Racism UMC Resources
- Our Congregational Readings and Videos for Discussion:
- Read “Caste: The Origins of our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson
- Watch Interview with Isabel Wilkerson and Bryan Stevenson on YouTube.
- Read “How to Be an Anti-Racist” by Ibram Kendi
- Watch the Interview with Ibram Kendi at The Aspen Institute on YouTube.
- Watch authors Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi on how to become aware of privilege, CBS This Morning, on YouTube.
Watch Reparations: Repairing by UMC Justice, featuring a powerful panel discussion with His Excellency Leon Kaulahao Siu, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Kingdom of Hawai’i; Rev. Michael Yoshii, Activist & Retired Elder California-Nevada Conference; Rev. Chebon Kernell, Executive Director of Native American Comprehensive Plan; Rev. Grace Imathiu, Senior Pastor of Evanston First United Methodist Church in Illinois.
- “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” by Isabel Wilkerson, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
- “400 Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 with over 80 contributors, edited by Ibram Kendi
- “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” by Ibram Kendi
- “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
- “White Awake” by Daniel Hill
- “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander
- “The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr” edited by Clayborne Carson
- Dr. King’s letter to the white churches in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
- “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B Dubois
- The collected works of Fredrick Douglas
- The “Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Malcolm X, Alex Haley
- Civil-rights attorney Bryan Stevenson’s interview on current events
- The Forbes article on Haiti to begin to understand the justice of reparations
- Ava DuVernay’s documentary “13th” on YouTube & Netflix
- “Amend” about the history of the 14th Amendment on Netflix
- “High on the Hog” with Stephen Satterfield, a gorgeous cultural food journey from Africa to America on Netflix
- The 2019 legal drama “Just Mercy”
- “I Am Not Your Negro” by Raoul Peck, in James Baldwin’s words, on YouTube
- “I’m Black. I’m Christian. I’m Methodist” discussions with Rev. Rudi Rasmus
- “Holy Post – Race in America” by Phil Vischer on YouTube
- “Systemic Racism Explained” on YouTube
- “America’s Native Prisoners of War” Aaron Huey’s TED talk
- “Let’s get to the root of racial injustice” Megan Ming Francis’ TEDtalk
- “We need to talk about an injustice” Bryan Stevenson’s TEDtalk
- “I’m Mexican. Does that change your assumptions about me?” Vanessa Vancour’s TEDtalk
- “Actions are illegal, never people” Jose Antonio Vargas’ TEDtalk
- “Why America Needs a Slavery Museum”
- “How Immigrants Shape(d) the United States” Nalini Krishnankutty’s TEDtalk
- “Racism has a cost for everyone” Heather C McGee’s TEDtalk
- “How to deconstruct racism one headline at a time” Baratunde Thurston’s TEDtalk
- “The symbols of racism – and how to take away their power” Paul Rucker’s TEDtalk