Race Issues: The Soul Protests
In follow up to discussions we have been having lately, we are gathering resources of what was talked about here.
Included in this post you can find:
- The Letter from Rev. Karen, The Soul Protests, and a link to her talk on the same topic,
- Places to research to support POC and educate yourself,
- Information on a Unity book group for “White people working on ourselves” and sign up info,
- An invitation from Umoja facilitator Gail Crumpton.
The Soul Protests
Dear Friend in Unity:
This has been an intense couple of weeks. In fact, it has been an intense 2020. In some ways it is as if we are collectively giving birth. Every woman who has given birth knows that it is a hard and painful process that you can’t walk away from once it’s started.
Over the past couple of weeks there have been protests around the country and around the world, and unlike other protests, this one is not going away. We have been in a swirling cauldron where we have been quarantined and coping with pandemic that has led to 109,000 deaths in the US and over 1.8 million unemployed.
This swirling cauldron exploded into grief, anger and rage over the death of George Floyd. His death was filmed by a bystander when his neck was compressed by an officer’s knee while in handcuffs for nearly nine minutes and pleading, “I can’t breathe.”
We know that he is not the only one to have been killed in this way. We also remember Ahmaud Arbury, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Paul Castaway, Melissa Ventura, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Manual Ellis, Tony McDade, and countless others. It’s not that any of this is new. What is new is that we now have phones that record what was previously hidden.
We are at a crossroads. We can choose to try and keep the status quo or move forward with tremendous change and transformation. The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
It’s time to address the grievances of the African American community. It’s time to address the grievances of systematic racism, the legacy of slavery, white privilege. It’s time for our nation to face it’s shadow so that we can be transformed.
How do we move forward? How do breathe new life into the world? How can we do things differently? How can we love our neighbor as ourselves? I know that each of us has a piece of this answer that can lead to action. I invite you to stop, to breathe and to listen.
May the Divine Comforter heal all wounds. May your voice be joined with the voices of all beings as we birth a new nation and a new world.
You can watch Rev. Karen’s sermon on the same topic here.
At our May 31st after-service fellowship there was honest and meaningful discussion about race, white privilege, and the current protests related to this. There was a request for resources that could be used for white people educating ourselves and engaging more directly in this important work. Being part of creating a more inclusive, humane, and just society begins with ourselves.
The following websites are a few suggestions from community members.
https://youtu.be/v4amCfVbA_c (Trevor Noah video)
Books you may want to consider:
Black Boy, by Richard Wright
Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo
Gang Days in LA, by Luis J Rodriguez
Books by Toni Morrison, Gwendolyn Brooks, Nikki Giovanni, and Maya Angelou
PBS highlights cultural diversity in series throughout the year. Sound Theatre Company is a theatre company that presents racial injustice plays and also addresses disability through theatre.
Book study and discussion series for Dr. Robin DiAngelo’s landmark book “White Fragility.” This class is open to any Seattle Unity attendee; its focus will be on “White people working on ourselves. ”
Dates: Wednesdays, 7-9 pm; June 17th – July 22nd.
(Wednesday Zoom prayer services will still run from 6:30 to 7:00.)
Please join our member facilitators – Carl Woestwin and Scott Meihn as we read and discuss Dr. Robin DiAngelo’s breakthrough book “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism”. This is not a drop-in class; registrants are asked to commit to the entire series (to the extent possible). Love offering.
Where do I get the book?
Unsurprisingly, getting hard copies of this book right now is extremely difficult. However, there are many audiobook versions available online. Our staff is getting access to some borrowed hard copies from generous community members. Registrants who cannot find this book in another format should contact our office for assistance in borrowing one of these donated hard copies.
Is this just for white people?
While any community member is welcome, this group is formed in response to input from several of our Black community members, who asked that white people “educate each other”, rather than making this anti-racist work into more labor and burden for people of color. Dr. DiAngelo’s book, then, is a perfect way for white people to help each other confront white identity, and the imprints and impacts of systemic racism.
How is this book group different from others?
Our Unity context means that this is unlike a strictly secular book group, in that we will use prayer, meditation, and other spiritual practices, to ground our study. We will also examine unique ways that White Fragility may express in New Thought and spiritual settings.
Staff contact – firstname.lastname@example.org
Umoja Study Group
Umoja is a study group embracing diversity and love within Seattle Unity and the wider community. The group explores books and materials from various sources and coordinates activities that contribute to an inclusive community. Through Fellowship and support, group members seek to move theory to practice in their quest to deepen their spiritual journeys.
Umoja now meets via Zoom on 2nd Thursdays, and is just starting reading a new book together, The Healing Wisdom of Africa, by Malidoma Patrice Somé.
An invitation from Gail Crumpton, Umoja facilitator: