December 2, 2014
For many, the fall Plymouth U course focused on Undoing Institutional Racism, brought a different lens to the Grand Jury’s decision about the killing of Michael Brown and events that followed around the country. During the class we shared our own stories about how we have been socialized around the concept of race, dug into the history of how racism lies at the root of every system and institution and explored how racism is internalized and manifested.
Racism is not limited to Ferguson; it is present here – in our Seattle school systems that disproportionately suspends and expulses youth of color; in our King County jail that is disproportionately youth of color; in our state as people of color live sicker and die younger than their white counterparts. Even these facts may feel like a distant reality, but it gets personal when we start thinking and talking about how Plymouth Church can overcome our cultural barriers in becoming an anti-racist community.
As people of faith, we must listen deeply to the pain and suffering of those who are oppressed, amongst us and beyond our walls, still knowing that the truth of experience can never be matched. This is not only so we can follow the lead of people of color in these efforts, but so we can reconnect to the humanity lost every time we see an injustice that has become too “normal” to even notice.
Over the next month, participants from Plymouth U will share their reflections in various forms. I hope you will all have a chance to hear and connect with that experience. –Jenn Hagedorn, Plymouth Social Justice LiaisonSubscribe