A non-church friend recently told me that, while she appreciated the celebrations marking the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, she wished there were more emphasis on education and advocacy as a way to commemorate his life’s work. In response, I invited her to the workshop, entitled “Confronting Structural Racism in Traditionally White Spaces: A Facilitated Dialogue,” that I will be co-facilitating in Forbes Hall on Monday, January 20, 2020, from 11:30-2:30 pm. You also are welcome to register at https://www.racialequityla.org/programs-events/2020/1/20/confronting-structural-racism-in-traditionally-white-spaces-a-facilitated-dialogue.
This event, one of many that will be held nationwide during the National Week of Racial Healing, is coordinated by Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Los Angeles (TRHT), and is open to the Los Angeles community. Initiated by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, TRHT is a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism. TRHT seeks to unearth and jettison the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs created by racism – the main one being the belief in a “hierarchy of human value.”
When I proposed the dialogue circle at the November Board meeting, the attending members voted to sponsor and support this endeavor, consistent with the 6th of the Eight Elements Rev. Jeremiah is encouraging our committees to explore: “Each group engages in Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression/Social Justice work on personal, interpersonal, congregational, and societal levels.” We are grateful for the fine work our Faith in Action Commission and Peace and Social Justice Committee perform both within and without our congregation. At the same time, it is important not to rely solely upon that small, dedicated group to fulfill our social justice commitments, but rather we are each called by our faith to consider how to contribute to the work of racial equity.
This MLK, Jr. Holiday dialogue circle will offer an examination of structural racism through the lens of whiteness and privilege. There will be a limited didactic and resourcing aspect, but primarily we will focus on questions encouraging self-reflection and discourse on issues of fragility, microaggressions and personal and collective responsibility for racial literacy, reconciliation and justice. We hope you will consider spending the holiday with us in this important effort.