Antiracism Resources

Diversity Task Force

In June 2020, the Session commissioned a Wellshire Diversity Task Force. The group has been meeting twice monthly since August for study, prayer, and discussion. The Task Force approved a purpose statement and a set of goals. The purpose statement is below, find the entire document here.

God loves diversity. God delights in justice. Jesus reminds us to love all of God’s children. Therefore, we commit ourselves to exploring and exposing injustice, beginning with our positions of privilege and complicity, in the Church and in our society, and commit to ongoing learning and action. We challenge ourselves and each other to recognize the existence of white privilege in church and society, and to dismantle structural racism.

For more antiracism resources provided by the PC(USA) visit: https://facing-racism.pcusa.org/

Local Organizations
The Diversity Task Force recently donated funds to four local organizations that support our mission in Denver:
  • Building Bridges, leadership training for teens and diversity training for all ages
  • InterFaith Alliance, supporting racial equity, economic justice, and religious freedom
  • Casa de Paz, uniting immigrant families and offering transitional support for detainees
  • Korey Wise Innocence Project, defending those falsely accused of crimes 
As a Matthew 25 Church, Wellshire is committed to work to “dismantle structural racism.” This is a key objective of the Diversity Task Force.
 
As part of the task force’s commitment to doing this work through education, we have drafted working definitions of terms crucial to our understanding. 
 
Do the definitions add to your understanding of what diversity means? We invite thoughtful discussion as to the terms that have been presented. You may send comments and questions to DTF@wpcdenver.org.
 
Definitions

Race – a social construct, not a biological fact. Historically, race and racial categorizations were created to support the view that some groups of people are superior and some are inferior. Race designations and the way racial categorizations are enforced have changed over time. Source: adapted from Racial Equity Tools Glossary

Racism – This definition has changed over time from referring to individual prejudice to now refer to the systemic and structural ways that our society is white-centered, white-dominant, and white-identified. It is an ongoing structure of society that gives advantage to whites at the expense of people of other racial groups. Racism is ingrained in almost every aspect of our culture and society. It affects us all – positively or negatively, directly or indirectly – on a daily basis. This definition of racism is structural and systemic. It does not apply to individuals and it is not concerned with personal feelings or attitudes. Source: PC(USA) Facing Racism Guide

Anti-racism – the work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life. 
Source: Racial Equity Tools Glossary

Diversity – The Bible insistently reveals that God loves diversity and justice. This is seen in the wide variety of creation in which God delights. It is heard in the words of the prophets, who reject oppression and commend justice as true worship. It is embodied in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, who resists the power of empire and values all persons, regardless of status, as children of God.
Source: PC (USA) Facing Racism – Churchwide Antiracism Policy – Vision Statement.

Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender—the groups that most often come to mind when the term “diversity” is used—but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values.
Source: Racial Equity Tools Glossary.

Equality – ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents, and believing that no one should have poorer life chances because of where, what or whom they were born, what they believe, or whether they have a disability. Equality recognizes that historically, certain groups of people with particular characteristics (race, disability, sex and sexuality) have experienced discrimination.
Source: Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Inclusion – the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people. Source: Building Bridges; UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity.

Black Lives Matter

21 Day Racial Equity Challenge

You are invited to join us and churches around the nation in a 21-day racial equity challenge. Through exposure to a variety of voices in videos, podcasts, and articles, we can listen, learn and grow, and be equipped to help make real change.

Thank you to Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte for adapting and sharing these valuable resources.

The Challenge

Pick one of the resources listed below every day for 21 days.

Diversify your understanding by doing some of each.

Track and reflect by using the planning tool below.

Share your reflections at the end of the challenge.

Pray for the places you are challenged and for those you are learning about whose lives may be different than yours.

Resources for Children

Want to get your children involved? Check here for great age appropriate resources!

Resources for Adults

Watch

This is Us, Dr. Eddie Glaude explains why blaming current racial tensions on Donald Trump misses the point. (video, 3 minutes)

Racism is Real, A split-screen video depicting the differential in the white and black lived experience. (video, 3 minutes)

Confronting ‘intergroup anxiety’: Can you try too hard to be fair? Explores why we may get tongue tied and blunder when we encounter people from groups unfamiliar to us. (video, 5 minutes)

CBS News Analysis: 50 states, 50 different ways of teaching America’s past, Ibram X. Kendi reviews current history curriculum production and use across the U.S. (video, 5 minutes)

The Disturbing History of the Suburbs, An “Adam Ruins Everything” episode that quickly and humorously educates how redlining came to be. (video, 6 minutes)

What Kind of Asian Are You? Humorous two minute YouTube video that illustrates the utter silliness of the way many white Americans interact with Asian Americans. (video, 2 minutes)

Birth of a White NationKeynote speech by legal scholar Jacqueline Battalora, offers a blow-by-blow description of the moment the idea of, and word for, “white” people entered U.S. legal code. (video, 36 minutes)

13th, Netflix documentary by Ava DuVernay about the connection between US Slavery and the present day mass incarceration system. (video, 1 hour, 40 minutes)

How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward themTED Talk by Vernā Myers, encourages work vigorously to counter balance bias by connecting with and learning about and from the groups we fear. (video, 19 minutes)

The danger of a single story, TED Talk by Chimamanda Adiche, offers insight to the phenomenon of using small bits of information to imagine who a person is. (video, 18 minutes)

How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time, TED Talk by Baratunde Thurston that explores patterns revealing our racist framing, language, and behaviors. (video, 10 minutes) 

Indigenous People React to Indigenous Representation in Film And TV, Conversation with a diverse range of Indigenous people by FBE about  media depictions of Indigenous people, Columbus day, and Indigenous identity. (video, 15 minutes)  

What Being Hispanic and Latinx Means in the United States, Fernanda Ponce shares what she’s learning about the misunderstanding and related mistreatment of the incredibly diverse ethnic category people in U.S. call Hispanic. (video, 12 minutes) 

Tyler Merrit Project: Before You Call (video, 3 minutes)

Listen

Code Switch, hosted by journalists Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji 

Black Like Me, host Dr. Alex Gee 

Scene on Radio – Seeing White Series, host John Biewen and collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika 

TED Radio Hour – Mary Bassett: How Does Racism Affect Your Health? host Guy Raz speaks with Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University 

Here & Now – Without Slavery, Would The U.S. Be The Leading Economic Power? host Jeremy Hobson and author Edward Baptist 

NPR Morning Edition – You Cannot Divorce Race From Immigration journalist Rachel Martin talks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas 

Pod Save the People, Activism. Social Justice. Culture. Politics. On Pod Save the People, organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson 

Notice

Test Your Awareness: Do The Test

This video shows us the importance of paying attention, and how much more we see when we are looking for particular things around us.

Use each question below separately as one day’s challenge.

  • Who is and is not represented in ads?
  • What are the last five books you read? What is the racial mix of the authors?
  •  What is the racial mix of the main characters in your favorite TV shows? Movies?
  • Who is filling what kinds of jobs/social roles in your world?  Can you correlate any of this to racial identity?

Biblical

Read the Book of Exodus, considering the history of liberation.
 
Read the Book of Acts, considering the development of the early church, inclusion, and a new community.
 
Word search JUSTICE in a Bible app (try biblegateway.com) and browse through the verses that come up.
 
Stated Clerk of the PC(USA), The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, says there is work to be done
 
Former co-moderator of the PC(USA), Rev. Jan Edmiston, blogs at achurchforstarvingartists.
 
An reflection piece from Danny Murphy, General Presbyter, Trinity Presbytery, South Carolina – My Thoughts on George Floyd 
 
Statement from the Rev. Dr. Brian Blount, President, Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, VA.
 
“The Dream of Pentecost” a sermon by the Rev. Timothy Hart-Anderson, Senior Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis, MN.
More ideas can be found on Eddie Moore’s page, the originator of the 21 Day Challenge.