Reflections from a Racist 

February 28, 2017

As part of our commitment to be a congregation dedicated to social justice in our community, nation and world, we took direct steps to confront, name, own and eradicate the real activity of racism in our own congregation and individual lives. Rev. Kelle Brown and I, along with the leadership of Plymouth Church UCC Officers and Congregational Council declared and are making the training of our leadership in Dismantling Institutional Racism a significant priority, beginning with us, in 2017-18. This commitment expands to all leaders of boards, committees and individuals throughout our congregation. It isn't enough to support the work of others alone. Soul-searching and action requires us to take steps toward transformation of our lives, faith community and all to create the beloved community of Dr. King’s dream.

To that end, we urge and support our leadership to participate in upcoming training events to be held at Plymouth Church,
March 23-24 and May 11-12. As a congregation, we set aside funds through our Community Service and Social Action (CSSA) board, to assist in training costs and equip our people to lead us into a more fervent place of true justice.

I recently read Walter Brueggemann’s Prayers for a Privileged People and experienced a still deeper expression of my own privilege. Despite (or because of) privilege, I live in a dangerous world of brutality, force and threat designed to maintain a reality. Fear too easily pervades when such unchecked evil continues unfettered. We might easily be called perpetrators. We are not innocent, for too often we engage in collusion and complicity, even when silent.

To learn more, attend an upcoming training event; please contact me and together, let us begin the process of being a church living out justice and turning from our activities of racism.
Yours in grace and hope. –Rev. Steven Davis, Minister of Administration & Church Operations

Quotes from Plymouth Church staff who recently attended Undoing Institutional Racism Training together:

“Having gone through the undoing racism leadership training, the blinders have now come off, and my eyes are open to the history and function of oppressive institutions in our country and direct community. I feel empowered and highly motivated to work within Plymouth to further improve our footprint in the greater Seattle area.” –Jenny Kaiton

“This workshop gave me a new way of seeing the world. I have a much better understanding of the deep roots of systemic racism in our culture, and the privileges automatically given to me because I am white. This deeper understanding has given me a new starting place from which to learn how to become an effective ally to people of color.” –Jennifer Castle
“Sharing two eight-hour days in a diverse group of 40 people, and learning critical pieces of history rarely taught or focused on in classrooms, I was brought to tears more than once realizing how systemic racism prevails, albeit often veiled by good, liberal intentions. Once you see it, you can’t ‘unsee’ it. I am so grateful.” –Janice Randall

“The aspect of this workshop I loved most was the foundational safe and brave space it provided for all of those present. It was such a rare opportunity to hear honest individual perspectives of so many issues and topics that are usually not discussed so openly with those different from ourselves. This workshop made it clear that from whatever realities we were coming from, we were all coming together in the pursuit of understanding to make change within the systems and ourselves.” –Anna Colwell

“I didn’t want to go to undoing racism. It disrupted my work week and I didn’t know why I was going. But I am grateful for the undoing racism work. It was eye-opening and unsettling in a good way. I’ll carry it forward, starting with my men’s group.” –Robert Turner

“As a white male, I was braced for being uncomfortable. What I found, though, was a kind, gentle atmosphere that seemed to call forth the best part of me - often repressed by conventional culture - the part that longs to be about the work of building a society where all are valued.” –Tad Anderson

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