The Love of Christ Impels Us: Becoming an Anti-Racist Parish
Sign-up for an anti-racism focus group
What is anti-racism? Racial prejudice usually means a belief that some racial groups are better or worse than others. Structural racism describes the ways in which our institutions and structures create and maintain racial inequalities. Anti-racism goes beyond simply avoiding racism, and is an effort to oppose and dismantle racism and to promote racial equity.
Why is College Church talking about anti-racism? College Church has a long history of ongoing commitment to justice and racial equity. More recently, since 2014 and the Ferguson uprising, we as a parish have been asking ourselves some hard questions about our role in racial inequality. How have we ignored it? How have we supported it? How have we worked to change it? In addition, the USCCB recently released its pastoral letter against racism, which explains how the work of anti-racism is deeply rooted in our Catholic faith.
What anti-racism work has College Church been doing? Since June, parishioners and staff representatives who had been working in various ways on racial equity efforts within our parish have been meeting monthly as the College Church Anti-Racism Leadership Team. We hope to create a focused vision and mission for our parish to become an anti-racist institution. That means we want to be working purposefully to oppose racism and create racial equity: within ourselves as individuals, within our parish as a community, and within our city. We are asking: How can College Church increase our commitment to dismantle racism? How can we grow in our understanding of racism and inequality? What would College Church look and feel like if our intentional identity was that of a truly anti-racist institution?
How are we doing this work? We have connected with Crossroads, an organization based in the Midwest that helps religious communities and secular organizations learn how to do the work of anti-racism. Their vision is that Racism dehumanizes us all —Dismantling racism heals us all. Their method is to help organizations transform themselves, thereby transforming their communities. The Leadership Team attended a full-day training with Crossroads and has been using their tools to conduct focus groups within already established commissions and ministries within our Parish.
What is next? The Leadership Team needs to hear from you! We will conduct focus groups in February throughout our parish community. We hope all members of College Church will participate. We need to hear what you think about the current status of racism in our city and country and why—and how much— it matters that the Church, and College Church in particular, address issues of racial justice. Once we understand our parish's responses to these questions, we can move forward together.
Want to be involved? Our team has been evolving and is still very much in the beginning stages of this work. We acknowledge that our current team lacks gender and racial diversity, as it is mostly female and mostly white. We value the experiences and gifts of all of our parishioners and want to enrich the makeup of our leadership team. Please contact Father Dan firstname.lastname@example.org, Christine Dragonette email@example.com if you are interested in being a part of this impassioned ministry.