Call to Action on Racial Justice
The NEJ Call to Action is a resolution passed in July 2016 by the Northeastern Jurisdiction (NEJ) authored by Tracy Bass, Joseph Daniels, William Meekins, Derrick Porter, Denise Smartt Sears, Lillian Smith, and Varlyna Wright. The resolution calls for “an effort to address, confront, and otherwise demand systemic fundamental and institutional change both within the church and the world...”
- A Call to Action Steering Committee comprised of two Call to Action authors, five General/Jurisdictional Conference delegates and persons serving in roles that are associated with items mentioned above has been formed. Moving forward, The Discipleship Council will be responsible for its oversight.
- The Call to Action Steering Committee has determined that the BWC approach will:
- Be rooted in building relationships and creating a culture that allows all persons and cultures to feel safe in having needed conversations and confronting racism;
- Intentionally embed cultural competency and anti-bias work throughout BWC’s existing networks and gatherings;
- Uplift what is happening at the grassroots level;
- Invite congregations to engage in conversations and experiences that help them take the next step toward becoming racial justice change agents;
- Identify natural places to include training and conversations (right leaders, appropriate process) for all conference leaders (including camp counselors); and
- Incorporate better accountability into our systems.
- Our Conference Board of Ordained Ministry is implementing ongoing training in cultural competency and is creating new cultural competency questions for candidates.
- Our Conference Commission on Religion and Race (CCORR) has provided copies of the Vital Conversations Series 1: Realities of Race and Racism, produced by the UMC General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR), for all BWC congregations/clergy which can be used as a basis for congregational conversations. It includes a study guide and DVD that features contemporary theologians, sociologists, laity, clergy, and other thought-leaders dealing with challenges of race, culture, and oppression in the Church and world today.
- The NEJ Multi-Ethnic Center is hosting a NEJ Call to Action Summit on October 21-22 with a specific focus on innovatively strengthening and planting new and renewed Black and multiethnic faith communities.
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- Get to know someone who doesn’t look or think like you. Download this resource sheet for help with that.
- Be aware of your own implicit biases. You can start by taking the Implicit Association Test on race. Learn more.
- Name and address racism when you witness it and work toward being at least a level-4 change agent! (see diagram below)
- Have a conversation during your leadership meeting about our United Methodist Preamble and Social Principles as they relate to race and the Gospel.
- Invite your leadership team to take the online Implicit Association Test on race, discuss the results as a team, and then follow-up with relevant actions.
- Host or participate in Vital Conversations with your congregation and/or explore additional UM resources on key issues.
- Become a Beloved Community Hub which includes a training component, a six-month journey of vital conversations in cross-racial and/or cross-cultural groups followed by a discerned collective action in the wider community.
- Be a part of a resourcing, writing and/or training team to help implement various aspects of BWC’s response to the NEJ Call to Action.
- Participate in a meaningful way in commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassination this spring (e.g., Lenten study, pilgrimage to Memphis or Alabama, etc.)
- Share your experience and/or project for engaging your congregation and community in this holy work.
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