"On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations."
The darkness and evil of prejudice and racism is sadly still very much alive. In 2016, our church hosted a book club on "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander. We followed up those discussions with a "Crucial Conversations" group that met regularly to share openly and vulnerably about our own personal journeys. While Spark celebrates and embraces our racial and ethnic diversity, we ultimately desire to see the goodness of the Gospel of Jesus breakthrough the darkness of racial injustice.
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watch & learn
"This is the key difference. Being surrounded by police is not feeling safe for someone like me. I don't know what the agenda is, etc. The idea of complying may be your second thought. Your immediate thought is 'I'm in jeopardy.' I think that fundamentally,...the difference is that if you're surrounded by police officers, do you feel more safe or less safe?"
Jelani Cobb, "Policing the Police" | Frontline, PBS
"So I think it's time for us to be comfortable with the uncomfortable conversation about race: black, white, Asian, Hispanic, male, female, all of us, if we truly believe in equal rights and equal opportunity in America, I think we have to have real conversations about this issue. We cannot afford to be color blind. We have to be color brave. We have to be willing, as teachers and parents and entrepreneurs and scientists, we have to be willing to have proactive conversations about race with honesty and understanding and courage, not because it's the right thing to do, but because it's the smart thing to do, because our business and our products and our science, our research, all of that will be better with greater diversity."
Mellody Hobson, "Color blind or color brave?" | TED
"Meaningful equality [Dr. King] said, could not be achieved through civil rights alone. Without basic human rights; the right to work, the right to quality education, the right to housing, civil rights are an empty promise. So, in honor of Dr. King, and all those who labored to end earlier systems of racial or social control, I hope we will commit ourselves to building a human rights movement to end mass incarceration. A movement for education not incarceration, a movement for jobs, not jails. And a movement to end all those forms of legal discrimination against people released from prison, discrimination denying them basic human rights, to work, to shelter, and to food."
Michelle Alexander, "The Future of Race In America" | TEDxColumbus
"We cannot be fully evolved human beings until we care about human rights and basic dignity. That all of our survival is tied to the survival of everyone. That our visions of technology, and design, and entertainment, and creativity have to be married with a vision of humanity compassion, and justice, and more than anything, for those who share that, I've simply come to tell you to keep your eyes on the prize. Hold on."
Bryan Stevenson, "We need to talk about an injustice" | TED
"Many people care deeply about these issues. Many have suggested solutions. Some have been tested, with results ranging from moderate success, to abject failure. I'm not here to tell you what the right solutions are, because I don't know. I'm just here to ask you to do one thing. It is the thing that begins every journey to a solution for every problem. What am I asking you to do? Care."
Phil Vischer, "Race in America" | Holy Post
"People say all the time, 'Well, I don't understand how people could have tolerated slavery. How could they have made peace with that? How could people have gone to a lynching, and participated in that? How did people make sense of the segregation, this white and colored only drinking? That's so crazy, if I was living at that time I would have never tolerated anything like that.' And the truth is we are living at this time, and we are tolerating it."
Bryan Stevenson | 13th
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"In summary, standing in the gap means to speak up and speak out, particularly into the spaces where I/we cannot reach. Moreover, it's a commitment to sticking with it over time. Will it be easy? No. Will it always be effective? Probably not. Nevertheless, you must persist, even with the knowledge that you may stumble or run into a brick wall. Learn, evolve, and push forward, As an ally, you have committed to partnering with me in this exhausting work--and it matters."
Marilyn Addy, Senior Program Manager for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at LinkedIn | FastCompany