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"On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, we invited a diverse panel of ministers, theologians, scholars, civic, and business leaders, across multiple generations, for a different and courageous conversation on race."

BLACK ABILITY, WHITE FRAGILITY: RACE ISSUES 2020
 CLICK TO REPLAY THE PANEL DISCUSSION

Black Pain

“The pressures of dealing with racism and fighting for equality take their toll. We get tired, we cannot seem to relax. Headaches increase, depression, and incessant crying. We carry the burden of racism in our bodies, and the burden is heavy.”
― Kristy Sinkfield, director of strategy and innovation at Vanderbilt University Medical Center at a recent seminar about racism and health

Surviving Whiteness

"Code Switching", "The Talk", "You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have", "ASSIMULATION"

Police Brutality

“I know that it's hard to believe that the people you look to for safety and security are the same people who are causing us so much harm. But I'm not lying and I'm not delusional. I am scared and I am hurting and we are dying. And I really, really need you to believe me.”
― Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race

The Power of Protest

“I learned early that crying out in protest could accomplish things. My older brothers and sister had started to school when, sometimes, they would come in and ask for a buttered biscuit or something and my mother, impatiently, would tell them no. But I would cry out and make a fuss until I got what I wanted. I remember well how my mother asked me why I couldn't be a nice boy like Wilfred; but I would think to myself that Wilfred, for being so nice and quiet, often stayed hungry. So early in life, I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise.”
― Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

What does it mean to be White?

"White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress, leading to what I refer to as White Fragility."
― Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility

White Supremacy

The belief, theory, or doctrine that white people are inherently superior to people from all other racial and ethnic groups, especially Black people, and are therefore rightfully the dominant group in any society.

White Privilege

"When I talk about white privilege, I don’t mean that white people have it easy, that they’ve never struggled, or that they’ve never lived in poverty. But white privilege is the fact that if you’re white, your race will almost certainly positively impact your life’s trajectory in some way. And you probably won’t even notice it."
— Reni Eddo-Lodge (Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race)

Cultivating an Anti-Racist Mentality

“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”
― Angela Y. Davis

Committing to "The Work"

“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”
―  Martin Luther King, Jr., 
A Variation of a quote attributed to Danté Inferno

Our Panelist

Reverend Dr.
Robert C. Scott

Senior Pastor
St. Paul Baptist Church

Reverend Dr. Robert Charles Scott serves as the new Senior Pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC, a historically significant congregation with nearly 5000 disciples serving in the Charlotte/Mecklenburg County area since 1900. He is married to Pier Charisse Scott and they are the parents of Charis Jordyn Scott.

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Reverend de'Angelo Dia

Moderator
Assistant to the Senior Pastor for Social Justice
St. Paul Baptist Church

de’Angelo Dia is a poet, theologian, and educator. Dia serves as the Assistant to the Sr. Pastor for Social Justice at St. Paul Baptist Church. Along with a ministry team, he coordinates workshops, panel discussions, lectures, film screenings, and voter registration drives.

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Reverend Dr.
Benjamin Boswell

Senior Pastor
Myers Park Baptist Church

Reverend Dr. Benjamin Boswell is the Senior Minister of Myers Park Baptist Church and works at the intersection of strategic leadership, spiritual formation, and social justice.

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Mrs. Charlitta Hatch

President
Junior League of Charlotte

Charlitta Hatch is nationally recognized and locally impactful, wife, mom, author, and business change agent with a heart for service and a mind for results which she has brought to her clients for over 14 years.

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Minister Joshua Jordan

Associate Minister
St. Paul Baptist Church

Joshua Jordan is 24 years old, & is an associate minister here at St. Paul who serves alongside Rev. Seay with the children & youth. Min. Jordan has been at St. Paul for a little over a year now.

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Reverend Lori Raible

Pastor
Selwyn Presbyterian Church

Lori Archer Raible has served the congregation of Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church since 2008. She is a graduate of Wake Forest University where she was a member of the Cross-country and Track and Field teams. She earned her Masters of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary of Charlotte, in 2006.

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Rabbi Judith Schindler

Senior Rabbi
Temple Beth El

Judy Schindler is a rabbi, wife, mom, professor, activist, and author. Rabbi Judy is an innovator… leading the creation of three Telly award-winning social justice documentaries addressing diversity in schools, urban education and affordable housing.

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First Lady Pier Scott

Corporate PR and Media Strategist
Treetop Consulting, Inc.

Pier Scott has more than 20 years of experience as a corporate PR and media strategist and since 2012 has been an independent contractor for Treetop Consulting, Inc., a boutique media strategy firm based in Chicago that is currently advising clients through the transition to a greater racial awareness to create more equitable workplaces.

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Reverend Peyton Seay

Children and Youth Minister
St. Paul Baptist Church

Peyton Seay is 24 years old, and he is currently serving part-time as the Children and Youth Minister of St. Paul Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC, which is under the leadership of Reverend Dr. Robert Charles Scott.

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You can replay the broadcast now!

RESOURCES

As a companion to our panel discussion "Black Ability, White Fragility: Race 2020" we have provided a list of resources to help you further your studies, development, growth, and activism.

Articles & Essays to Read

Articles and Essays by Nikole Hannah-Jones

Nikole Hannah-Jones is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine and creator of the landmark 1619 Project.

The New York Times's 1619 Project commemorates the 400th anniversary of the beginning of slavery in what would become the United States by examining slavery's modern legacy and reframing the way we understand this history and the contributions of black Americans to the nation. Nikole's lead essay, "Our Democracy's founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true," was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize.

Nikole also has written extensively about school resegregation across the country and chronicled the decades-long failure of the federal government to enforce the landmark 1968 Fair Housing Act.

In 2016, Nikole Hannah-Jones co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, a training and mentorship organization dedicated to increasing the ranks of investigative reporters of color.



Books to Read (Non-Fiction)

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. Since its publication in 2010, the book has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for more than a year; been dubbed the “secular bible of a new social movement” by numerous commentators, including Cornel West; and has led to consciousness-raising efforts in universities, churches, community centers, re-entry centers, and prisons nationwide. The New Jim Crow tells a truth our nation has been reluctant to face.

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress. Although white racial insulation is somewhat mediated by social class (with poor and working class urban whites being generally less racially insulated than suburban or rural whites), the larger social environment insulates and protects whites as a group through institutions, cultural representations, media, school textbooks, movies, advertising, and dominant discourses. Racial stress results from an interruption to what is racially familiar. In turn, whites are often at a loss for how to respond in constructive ways., as we have not had to build the cognitive or affective skills or develop the stamina that that would allow for constructive engagement across racial divides. leading to what I refer to as White Fragility. White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium. This book explicates the dynamics of White Fragility and how we might build our capacity in the on-going work towards racial justice.
How to Be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi's concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America--but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. 

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

A timely, crucial, and empowering exploration of racism--and antiracism--in America

This is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now.
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.
A book about race.

The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.

Be the Bridge by LaTasha Morrison

A leading advocate for racial reconciliation offers a clarion call for Christians to move toward relationship and deeper understanding in the midst of a divisive culture.

With racial tensions as high within the church as outside the church, it is time for Christians to become the leaders in the conversation on racial reconciliation.

This power-packed guide helps readers deepen their understanding of historical factors and present realities, equipping them to participate in the ongoing dialogue and to serve as catalysts for righteousness, justice, healing, transformation, and reconciliation.

The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

In The Color of Law (published by Liveright in May 2017), Richard Rothstein argues with exacting precision and fascinating insight how segregation in America—the incessant kind that continues to dog our major cities and has contributed to so much recent social strife—is the byproduct of explicit government policies at the local, state, and federal levels.

The Color of Law was designated one of ten finalists on the National Book Awards’ long list for the best nonfiction book of 2017.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

An unforgettable true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to end mass incarceration in America — from one of the most inspiring lawyers of our time.

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to defending the poor, the incarcerated, and the wrongly condemned.

Just Mercy tells the story of EJI, from the early days with a small staff facing the nation’s highest death sentencing and execution rates, through a successful campaign to challenge the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison, to revolutionary projects designed to confront Americans with our history of racial injustice.

One of EJI’s first clients was Walter McMillian, a young black man who was sentenced to die for the murder of a young white woman that he didn’t commit. The case exemplifies how the death penalty in America is a direct descendant of lynching — a system that treats the rich and guilty better than the poor and innocent.

The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby

The Color of Compromise takes readers on a historical journey: from America’s early colonial days through slavery and the Civil War, covering the tragedy of Jim Crow laws and the victories of the Civil Rights era, to today’s Black Lives Matter movement. Author Jemar Tisby reveals the obvious—and the far more subtle—ways the American church has compromised what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality.

Tisby uncovers the roots of sustained injustice in the American church, highlighting the cultural and institutional tables that need to be turned in order to bring about real and lasting progress between black and white people. Through a story-driven survey of American Christianity’s racial past, he exposes the concrete and chilling ways people of faith have actively worked against racial justice, as well as the deafening silence of the white evangelical majority. Tisby shows that while there has been progress in fighting racism, historically the majority of the American church has failed to speak out against this evil. This ongoing complicity is a stain upon the church, and sadly, it continues today.

Tisby does more than diagnose the problem, however. He charts a path forward with intriguing ideas that further the conversation as he challenges us to reverse these patterns and systems of complicity with bold, courageous, and immediate action. The Color of Compromise provides an accurate diagnosis for a racially divided American church and suggests creative ways to foster a more equitable and inclusive environment among God’s people.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

In a story of hope and longing, three young people set out from the American South during different decades of the 20th Century en route to the North and West in search of what the novelist Richard Wright called "the warmth of other suns."

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, George Swanson Starling and Robert Joseph Pershing Foster are among the six million African-Americans who fled the South during what would become known as the Great Migration, a watershed in American history. This book interweaves their stories and those of others who made the journey with the larger forces and inner motivations that compelled them to flee, and with the challenges they confronted upon arrival in the New World.



Books to Read (Fiction)

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

Three Families. Two School Districts. A Dozen Miles Between Them, But Worlds Apart.

When an impoverished Missouri school district loses its accreditation, the nearby affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open its doors to bussed students. Soon the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fund-raiser, faced with a rattling discovery that threatens to tear apart her picture-perfect world; Jen Covington, a career nurse whose painful journey to motherhood finally results in a happily-ever-after, though not the one she anticipated; and Anaya Jones, the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand-new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, who is unprepared for the minefield she is stepping into. As tensions rise, Camille, Jen, and Anaya will fiercely protect their loved ones – but at what cost?

Inspired by real-world events, No One Ever Asked is a riveting tale about the way we see one another, the lies we tell ourselves, the questions and stories that go unexplored, and the tragedies that result.

Small Great Things by Jodi Piccoult

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

In her highly-anticipated 2016 novel, SMALL GREAT THINGS, Jodi tackles the profoundly challenging yet essential con­cerns of our time: prejudice, race, and justice.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The acclaimed, award-winning novel is now a major motion picture starring Amandla Stenberg, Russell Hornsby, Regina Hall, Anthony Mackie, Issa Rae, and Common.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.



Organizations

Be the Bridge

Authentic Racial Bridge-Builders.

Our vision is that people and organizations are aware and responding to the racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. People are no longer conditioned by a racialized society but grounded in truth. All are equipped to flourish. 

At Be the Bridge, we recognize the tension in using the word reconciliation to describe the goal of historical and present racial injustice. We understand that reconciliation could imply that there was once a perfect union between people of color and white people in the U.S. and we know this is not true.

MeckMin (Mecklenburg Ministries)

Mecklenburg Ministries was founded in 1987 and is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization of 90 member congregations including: Baha’i, Center for Positive Living, Christian, Friends, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Latter Day Saints and Unitarian Universalist.

OUR VISION

We envision a community that lives by the highest values and core virtues of its rich faith traditions and respects the dignity of every person.

VALUES

  • Mecklenburg Ministries values the core virtues of our rich faith traditions...
    Our members being anchored in their belief in God, the divine, the spiritual.
  • Mecklenburg Ministries values the worth and dignity of all people….
    Finding common ground through respecting and affirming all humans.
  • Mecklenburg Ministries values relationships….
    Recognizing that our spiritual and human relationships are even more important than the causes we address.
  • Mecklenburg Ministries values the diversity of the Charlotte community…
    Enriching our lives as we learn from one another's racial, ethnic, cultural, and faith understandings.
  • Mecklenburg Ministries values peace…
    Believing in the importance of peace within each person, our community and our world.
The Repentance Project

Who are We?

In the midst of the Corhaven Graveyard, the Repentance Project was born. Ours is a story of life and hope springing forth from the darkness and pain of our nation’s past. To learn more about how we began, read our background and our story.

What is Our Mission?

The Repentance Project exists to encourage racial healing by communicating the systemic legacies of slavery, building relationships, and creating opportunities—through formation, repentance, and repair—for a just future.

What are Our Four R’s?

Recognize. Repent. Respond. Relationships.

We believe that healing happens when we recognize the depth of our country’s racial injustice past and present, repent in word and action and respond as agents of repair in the context of relationships.

Who is in Our Network?

To view our board members and partners, visit our team page.



For Your Listening

Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King., Jr.

From the Birmingham jail, where he was imprisoned as a participant in nonviolent demonstrations against segregation, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote in longhand the letter which follows. It was his response to a public statement of concern and caution issued by eight white religious leaders of the South. Dr. King, who was born in 1929, did his undergraduate work at Morehouse College; attended the integrated Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, one of six black pupils among a hundred students, and the president of his class; and won a fellowship to Boston University for his Ph.D.

Seeing White Podcast

(It's a 14-part series, but the commitment is sooooo worth it!!!)

Just what is going on with white people? Police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. The renewed embrace of raw, undisguised white-identity politics. Unending racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring. Some of this feels new, but in truth it’s an old story.

Why? Where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for?

Scene on Radio host and producer John Biewen took a deep dive into these questions, along with an array of leading scholars and regular guest Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika, in this fourteen-part documentary series, released between February and August 2017. The series editor is Loretta Williams.



For Your Viewing

Black Rage vs. White Tears
(November 2019 - CAYA Charlotte Experience)

Black Rage vs. White TearS: The Question of Forgiveness

Check out a video of a converation about The Question of Forgiveness. Orginally aried Tuesday, November 26, 2019. Coming off the trial of Police Officer Amber Guyger concerning the September 2018 killing of Botham Jean.

Watch Robin DiAngelo break down "White Fragility"

University of Washington professor Dr. Robin DiAngelo reads from her book "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism," explains the phenomenon, and discusses how white people can develop their capacity to engage more constructively across race.

Speakers include:
Misha Stone, Seattle Public Library
Robin DiAngelo, PhD, Critical Racial & Social Justice Education

Where Do We Go From Here - OWN Series

In response to the continuing civil unrest in America following the tragic murder of George Floyd, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network present a two-night special, OWN Spotlight: Where Do We Go From Here?, which features Oprah Winfrey as she speaks directly with Black thought leaders, activists and artists about systematic racism and the current state of America.

The in-depth conversations offer insight and tangible plans to answer the questions "What matters now?" "What matters next?" and "Where do we go from here?." Featured guests include politician Stacey Abrams, journalist Charles M. Blow; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; Academy award-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay ("When They See Us," "13th", "Queen Sugar"), professor and author Jennifer Eberhardt (author of "Biased"); journalist and Pulitzer prize-winning founder of the "1619 Project" Nikole Hannah-Jones; historian and author Ibram Kendi ("How to be an Anti-Racist"), award-winning actor David Oyelowo ("Selma"), Color of Change founder Rashad Robinson; and president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign and National Call for Moral Revival Bishop William J. Barber ll.



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