As an outgrowth of conversations generated after reading Bryan Stephenson’s book Just Mercy in the winter of 2016, the Social Justice Action Team felt that our congregation’s next step should be to explore the idea of white privilege and racial bias. Our congregation currently has very few people of color, although in the past there were more. Why is that? We are welcoming toward the LGBTQ population, but perhaps not when it comes to people of color.

We’re providing opportunities for growth and learning. This may reveal to us the work that needs to be done.To start, we are offering the following resources for growth.

The Third Reconstruction, UUA Common Read, Order it here

We will have three sessions, on Januray 30th, February 6th and February 13th to discuss  Dr. William J Barber’s “The Third Reconstruction.”  Barber calls on us to ground our justice work in moral dissent, and to do the hard work of Coalition Building in society that is fractured and polarized. He offers practical advice and examples from his work on expanding Voting Rights in North Carolina. Join us Monday evenings for discussions on these topics.  Register Here!

Over the summer of 2013, the Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II led more than a hundred thousand people at rallies across North Carolina to protest restrictions to voting access and an extreme makeover of state government. These protests-the largest state government-focused civil disobedience campaign in American history-came to be known as Moral Mondays and have since blossomed in states as diverse as Florida, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Ohio, and New York.

At a time when divide-and-conquer politics are exacerbating racial strife and economic inequality, Rev. Barber offers an impassioned, historically grounded argument that Moral Mondays are hard evidence of an embryonic Third Reconstruction in America.

The first Reconstruction briefly flourished after Emancipation, and the second Reconstruction ushered in meaningful progress in the civil rights era. But both were met by ferocious reactionary measures that severely curtailed, and in many cases rolled back, racial and economic progress. This Third Reconstruction is a profoundly moral awakening of justice-loving people united in a fusion coalition powerful enough to reclaim the possibility of democracy-even in the face of corporate-financed extremism.

In this memoir of how Rev. Barber and allies as diverse as progressive Christians, union members, and immigration-rights activists came together to build a coalition, he offers a trenchant analysis of race-based inequality and a hopeful message for a nation grappling with persistent racial and economic injustice. Rev. Barber writes movingly-and pragmatically-about how he laid the groundwork for a state-by-state movement that unites black, white, and brown, rich and poor, employed and unemployed, gay and straight, documented and undocumented, religious and secular. Only such a diverse fusion movement, Rev. Barber argues, can heal our nation’s wounds and produce public policy that is morally defensible, constitutionally consistent, and economically sane. The Third Reconstruction is both a blueprint for movement building and an inspiring call to action from the twenty-first century’s most effective grassroots organizer.

Race – The Power of an Illusion

The Social Action Team on Race held three meetings to raise our consciousness around privilege and racial justice. The PBS series, Race the Power of an Illusion, offers us a chance to learn and discuss as we begin to unfold our implicit bias. This series makes us think- what if we suddenly discovered that our most basic assumption about race – for instance, that the world’s people can be divided biologically along racial lines – was false? Register for this class at the Adult Faith Development table in the Great Hall on Sunday mornings, or by clicking here.

Week 1 – The Differences Between Us:  View the Video Here:

Background Readings:

Race and Gene Studies- What Difference Makes a Difference?

Human Diversity – Go Deeper

Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Race

Interview with Pilar Ossario

Week 2 – The Story We Tell:  View the Video Here:

Background Readings:

Origin of the idea of race

Africans, Slavery & Race

The Historical Development of Racism

Week 3 – The House we Live In:  View the Video Here

Background Readings:

White Privilege Questionnaire

Where Race Lives – Go Deeper

A Long History of Racial Preferences – For Whites

Income Inequality and Racial Status in Upstate Metropolitan Areas

More about Race, Income and Student Achievement