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Racial Justice Group Leader: Dick Swaisgood
Staff Liaison: Pastor Lara Forbes
Meetings: Fourth Tuesdays, 7:00 pm
At the August 2020 Congregation Council meeting, the Council approved formation of a Racial Justice Group and authorized it to research and make recommendations to the Council on how Saint Andrew’s can address racial justice issues and specifically Black lives and the Black Lives Matter movement.
If you have questions or wish to join the group, please contact Dick Swaisgood.
On this webpage….Current Opportunities Racial Justice Statement Purpose Statement Did You Know.... Resources
February 28, 2021: We shared why this work is important, why the group was created, and what our goals are
May 16, 2021: We discussed “Who is Our Neighbor?” and specific actions we can take (updated March 2022)
November 7, 2021: We explored Native American Justice and looked at the history of the Fish Wars
February 13, 2022: We learned about Japanese-American WWII Incarceration
June 12, 2022: Learn about Juneteenth and our place with this National Holiday
At Saint Andrew’s we take our mission statement seriously – “to Love and Serve All People”. Saint Andrew’s stands in support of the Black community and Black lives. We strive to support all our neighbors, including our Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, and other neighbors of color.
Recognizing the systemic racism and racial inequality in our community and nation, we acknowledge that we cannot remain silent, nor can we sit idly by. Remaining silent only contributes to injustice.
We commit to the ongoing work to find ways to better Love and Serve ALL People. As a start, Saint Andrew’s has created a Racial Justice group to guide our congregation in ways to address the injustice facing our neighbors in the BIPOC (Black, Brown, Indigenous and other People of Color) community.
Initial Goals for the Racial Justice group:
George Floyd’s killing in May 2020 and the demonstrations that followed were a tipping point that make it clear that there are class divisions in our society that clearly benefit white people and relegate Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) to second class status. Our continued silence in the face of clear evidence of that division puts into question if we are living up to our mission statement “Growing together in Christ to love and serve all people.” The Racial Justice Group was created to investigate the ways we are falling short of and facilitate action toward racial equity as we strive to make our mission and values principles we truly live by. We believe doing this important work will have far-reaching benefits by helping us better understand and navigate our differences.
Juneteenth has been celebrated annually on June 19th by African Americans since 1865 to commemorate the end of enslaved people in the United States of America. In fact, it is often referred to as the second Independence Day of the United States of America. Now it is a federal holiday on June 19th.
But did you know that it took 2 ½ years before those who were enslaved to hear of the freedom granted by the Emancipation Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863? General Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19th, 1865 with the Order that:
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
It’s a time for celebration, potluck, guest speakers, reflection, and much more! But is it…
On Sunday, June 12, 2022, at the Discipleship Hour Forum, the Saint Andrew’s Racial Justice Group will further explore Juneteenth and our place with this National Holiday.
For many people the idea of privilege is difficult to recognize as applying to themselves. “Privilege” refers to certain social advantages, benefits, or degrees of prestige and respect that an individual has by virtue of belonging to certain social identity groups. Within American and other Western societies, these privileged social identities—of people who have historically occupied positions of dominance over others—include whites, males, heterosexuals, Christians, and the wealthy, among others. Many of us don’t feel that we are privileged. We are not rich. Life isn’t always easy. We face challenges and hard times. We have to work hard.
A Facebook post from St. Alban’s Episcopal Church gives Privilege a somewhat different perspective.
“Privilege isn’t the presence of perks and benefits. It’s the absence of obstacles and barriers. That’s a lot harder to notice. If you have a hard time recognizing your privileges, focus on what you don’t have to go through. Let that fuel your empathy and action.”
We live in a society with established systems that present obstacles and barriers to people of color that those who are white don’t experience.
Here is a link to a great video entitled “Deconstructing White Privilege” by Dr. Robin DiAngelo. It is 22 minutes long and well worth taking the time to view: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7mzj0cVL0Q.
That you have hidden biases?
We all have biases of different kinds. Many of those biases are obvious and we share them with other people. You may like chocolate or sugar. Or you may dislike chatty people or loud people. But did you know that you also have hidden biases? A group of researchers including Tony Greenwald of the University of Washington developed a series of simple tests you can take which illuminate those biases we have learned from family, friends, peers, teachers, neighbors and even governments.
Go online at the link below and it is recommended you select the racial bias test first. It’s pretty simple but will give you insight over how we automatically react to those around us.
After you take the test, review “strategies to reduce bias” and the reasons why we should strive to be more “bias free”.
About Land Acknowledgments: What they are and what they mean?
For those of you who attended the November 7 Adult Discipleship Hour Forum put on by the Racial Justice Group, you may remember that we started the meeting with a Land Acknowledgment. The Land Acknowledgment that was read was:
We, at Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church, acknowledge that in this space that we are on the traditional lands of the Duwamish and Coast Salish people. A people that are still here, continuing to honor and bring to light their ancestral heritage.
According to Delilah Friedler of Teen Vogue :
The purpose of these statements is to show respect for indigenous peoples and recognize their enduring relationship to the land. Practicing acknowledgment can also raise awareness about histories that are often suppressed or forgotten.
“There have always been indigenous peoples in the spaces we call home, and there always will be,” Kanyon Sayers-Roods, a Mutsun Ohlone activist in Northern California, tells Teen Vogue. The Ohlone are indigenous to the Bay Area, and Kanyon is often invited to make acknowledgment statements at events in San Francisco and Oakland.
“The acknowledgment process is about asking, What does it mean to live in a post-colonial world? What did it take for us to get here? And how can we be accountable to our part in history?” she says.
If you want to find out more about land acknowledgments, the local Duwamish Tribe has excellent information on their website – https://www.duwamishtribe.org/. To find out what Indigenous People lived on the land where you are, explore this map by Native Land: https://native-land.ca/
 https://www.teenvogue.com/story/indigenous-land-acknowledgement-explained referenced December 7, 2021
The ELCA recently released a Declaration to American Indian and Alaska Native People confessing we have benefited from, participated in and been complicit in practices that have harmed Indigenous people?
It then pledges to honor, learn from, and support Native leadership in working toward justice and equity for Indigenous people. You can read the full Declaration here: https://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Declaration_to_American_Indian_Alaska_Native.pdf
The Duwamish People are still not recognized by the Federal Government?
The Duwamish are the First People of present-day Seattle, a name of the Tribe’s most well-known leader, Chief Si’ahl (Seattle). Did you know that the Duwamish people are still not recognized by the Federal Government despite this history? If you’d like to support this tribe in their pursuit for recognition, you can sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/federal-recognition-for-the-duwamish-tribe. To find out more information about the Duwamish people, visit https://www.duwamishtribe.org/
You can watch short videos (3 to 10 minutes) that are entertaining, enlightening, and thought-provoking about Racism called “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man”?
Emmanuel Acho is a former professional football player and broadcaster who has produced some videos which answer questions about racism as he dialogues with guests in short episodes. He is also the author of the book Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. Visit: www.uncomfortableconvos.com
It is projected that by 2060, the population of children (18 and under) who are two or more races will double?
See the report from the U.S. Census Bureau
Bellevue is recognized in Washington for its cultural diversity. About 50% of its population identifies with a non-white race or ethnicity and 43% speak a language other than English.
That systemic racism in our community and country causes huge income and opportunity gaps for Blacks, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)?
Many of our local charities see the impact of those gaps every day. We are looking at the statements they are making and the actions they are taking to counter this racial injustice. We have collected samples from five of our local charities.
Hopelink: Hopelink is working hard to create an Equitable Community Free of Poverty. They have taken a Pledge to build that community and ask all of us to take that pledge. Check out that pledge (and take it yourself) as well as see their Equity Statement and BLM Statement at this site: https://www.hopelink.org/takethepledge
Hopelink devoted much of their fall fund raising event to a panel discussion on “How can we create an equitable community free of poverty?” The panelists in the discussion are Soledad O’Brien, Gordon McHenry Jr., and Brittany Packnett Cunningham. Check out the recording of this event at: https://vimeo.com/469103344 The panel discussion starts about halfway through the video.
Imagine Housing: Imagine Housing, too, sees the impact of racial injustice. In their racial justice statement titled “In Solidarity: Black Lives Matter” they state: “Imagine Housing stands in solidarity with those in our communities faced with racial injustice.” And “Amidst COVID-19, we recognize that a much larger pandemic exists in our country that must be addressed – racism.” At this link you can read their statement and see their list of resources to learn more about Anti-Racism: https://imaginehousing.org/anti-racism/
The Sophia Way: Here is a statement from the Director of Client Services and Shelter Programs at The Sophia Way, Dietra Clayton: “What we see at the shelter is a mirror of what is happening with society on a bigger scale. There are systemic issues – poverty, racism, lack of living wages, out-of-reach rents – that contribute to rising homelessness, and the disproportionate number of women of color who are homeless.”
“Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are disproportionately affected by inequities in housing. 46% of women seeking shelter at The Sophia Way are women of color”. Check out their post titled “In Solidarity” here: https://sophiaway.org/in-solidarity/
Congregations for the Homeless (CFH): CFH in their “Our Message Against Systemic Racism and its Impact on Men We Serve” say that “…systemic racism is at the heart of homelessness in our country.” This message includes an excerpt from a message that their Executive Director, David Bowling, sent to all CFH staff last May. Check out the message at this link: https://www.cfhomeless.org/cfh-news/
Compass Housing Alliance: The Compass Housing Alliance website has a post of a message from their Interim Executive Director, Mary Steele. That message includes this statement. “In Seattle and King County, homelessness and housing instability disproportionately affect People of Color. Last year, 31% of the people we served were Black compared to only 6% in the local King County population. This is personal to us, as we see these statistics reflected daily in the very real faces seeking the refuge of our services.” Check out the full message at this link: https://www.compasshousingalliance.org/2020/06/black-lives-matter/.
Disparities in health outcomes caused by systemic racism have led King County to declare racism a public health crisis?
You can read the resolution here: www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/board-of-health/~/media/depts/health/board-of-health/documents/resolutions/BOH-resolution-20-08.ashx
Anti-Black Racism remains an issue here in Bellevue even with a Black population of less than 4%?
Racial slurs and attacks continue at our area high schools and are rarely effectively addressed to prevent recurrences even with a robust Equity Policy and anti-bias training. Read one student’s perspective of her experiences at Newport High School in the Seattle Times.
That you can sign a pledge to fight racism?
You can join others in the ELCA to pledge to do whatever you can to end racism in our community, church, country and our world. “As church we are called to confess the sin of racism, condemn the ideology of white supremacy, and strive for racial justice and peace. Beyond statements and prayers, we are called to also act and respond to injustices.” Go to https://www.elca.org/racialjusticepledge to learn more and sign the pledge.
That a local TV program examines race, social justice, and racial inequality in the Pacific Northwest?
If you are seeking information on how these issues are affecting our local communities, this is an excellent place to start. Hosted by local anchor Joyce Taylor, “Facing Race” airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. on KING 5. The previous episodes are available on KING 5’s YouTube channel
Actions We Can Take: a list of resources and ideas of specific actions we can take to be of help to our neighbors, particularly those who are being treated unjustly.
Updated March 2022
Please consider ordering books from a local, Black-owned bookstore. We have included links to Estelita’s Library. A Black-owned Seattle bookstore with online ordering.
Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Jamie Ford
Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a historical novel set in Seattle at the time during WWII when Japanese citizens were rounded up and sent off to internment camps. Henry, a 2nd generation Chinese American, is just 12 years old and has befriended Keiko, a young Japanese girl at the private school they both attend, where they are the only non-whites. At the urging of his very traditional father, Henry wears a “I Am Chinese” button every day on his shirt so that he won’t be confused with a Japanese person and suffer the discrimination and taunting that Japanese people were subjected to daily.
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by Jon Meacham
Biography of John Lewis’s contributions and participation in the Civil Rights movements in the U.S. from the early 1960s-2020. The focus of this book is largely on his participation in the movement in the 1960s. Meacham outlines Lewis’s unwavering religious and philosophical convictions that lead him to the movement and conscience that guided his behavior.
Between the World and Me – Ta Nehisi Coates –
Autobiography, black man growing up Gen X
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness – Austin Channing Brown
“From a leading voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up Black, Christian, and female that exposes how white America’s love affair with ‘diversity’ so often falls short of its ideals.”
This is Your Time – Ruby Bridges
Written as a letter from civil rights activist and icon Ruby Bridges to the reader, This Is Your Time is both a recounting of Ruby’s experience as a child who had no choice but to be escorted to class by federal marshals when she was chosen as one of the first black students to integrate New Orleans’ all-white public school system and an appeal to generations to come to effect change.
How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith
How the Word is Passed: Beginning in his own hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader through an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks—those that are honest about the past and those that are not—that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation’s collective history, and ourselves. This is an exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history.
The Sum of US: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee
The Sum of US: Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy—and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis of 2008 to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a root problem: racism in our politics and policymaking. But not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems. This is the story of how public goods in this country—from parks and pools to functioning schools—have become private luxuries; of how unions collapsed, wages stagnated, and inequality increased.
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
The Color of Law is a powerful and disturbing history of residential segregation in America. It shows how the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments, actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Hidden Figures tells the phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
Just Mercy tells the story of Bryan Stevenson’s attempts to help those on death row in the U.S., particularly those in the state of Alabama where he sets up an Equal Justice Initiative. Chapters deal with specific cases – and the issues around treating juveniles as adults in the U.S. justice system of the day, of making no allowance for mental disabilities, and through it all, ongoing prejudice against black people and poor people built into the judicial system.
Dear Church – Lenny Duncan
“A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S.”
How To Be an Antiracist – Ibram X Kendi –
This book discusses the concepts of racism and proposals for anti-racist individual action and systemic change.
The Myth of Equality –
Specifically coming at the history of anti-black racism from a Christian perspective and how the Church was the root. Good entry-level book.
Lies my Teacher Told Me
General US history but most of the lies are related to the foundations of white supremacy and the stories that were not told. Good entry level book (and super fascinating in general.)
White Fragility – Robin d’Angelo
Intermediate-level, not a great place to start learning about racism.
So you want to talk about Race – Ijeoma Oluo
The Cross and the Lynching Tree – James H. Cone
Examines the interconnection of these two symbols with history and the souls of black folk.
The Color of Law – Richard Rothstein
“A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America” – exploring residential racism and redlining.
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States – Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
An African American and Latinx History of the United States – Paul Ortiz
Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor – Layla F. Saad
The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander
I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation – Chanequa Walker-Barnes
How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide – Crystal Marie Fleming
Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery – Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah
Smoky Night – Eve Bunting
This is a fictional story that takes place during the LA Riots.
Storm Boy – Owen Paul Lewis
After a violent sea storm, a Haida prince washes ashore in the supernatural realm of the strange and colossal killer whale people. There his spiritual journey begins.
More on Lewis’ work to honor the hero’s journey and indigenous peoples in his writing: http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/iks/hail/StormBoy.html
The 5 o’clock Band – Trombone Shorty
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
Antiracist Baby – Ibram Kendi (Board Book)
A is for Activist – Innosanto Nagara (Board book available ABC book)
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning – Ibram Kendi
Lee Daniel’s The Butler
Lee Daniels The Butler is the story of an African American man who becomes the White House butler during the Eisenhower years and serves through the Reagan administration. The story is told in a chronological order, so that the viewer gets to see the world changing, particularly for African Americans through the eyes of this butler. This changing world and the way father and son seek to bring about that change creates something of a generational conflict between the two that takes decades to resolve.
The Hate You Give – Free on Prime –
A young woman’s life is forever changed when she witnesses a childhood friend’s fatal shooting at the hands of a police officer.
Biographies, Non-Fiction, and Based on True Stories
Marshall is based on the true story of future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall as he battles through one of his career defining cases. In 1940, Thurgood Marshall is a young lawyer for the NAACP who crisscrosses the country defending innocent African Americans from unjust indictments in court. This movie doesn’t try to tell the life story of Thurgood Marshall but focuses on this one challenging case.
42 – The Jackie Robinson Story
42 tells the inspirational true story of Jackie Robinson and how he became the first African American baseball player allowed to play in the Major League. In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), legendary manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, defies major league baseball’s notorious color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team. The heroic act puts both Rickey and Robinson in the firing line of the public, the press, and other players. Facing open racism from all sides, Robinson demonstrates true courage and admirable restraint by not reacting in kind and lets his undeniable talent silence the critics for him.
Dr. Don Shirley is a world-class African-American pianist who’s about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South in 1962. In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits Tony Lip, a tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx. They must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Despite their differences, the two men soon develop an unexpected bond while confronting racism and danger in an era of segregation. The film is inspired by a true friendship that transcended race, class, and the 1962 Mason-Dixon line.
The Best of Enemies
The Best of Enemies is the true story of the unlikely relationship between Ann Atwater, an outspoken civil rights activist, and C.P. Ellis, a local Ku Klux Klan leader. During the racially charged summer of 1971, Atwater and Ellis come together to co-chair a community summit on the desegregation of schools in Durham, North Carolina. The ensuing debate and battle soon lead to surprising revelations that change both of their lives forever.
Something the Lord Made
Something the Lord Made tells the emotional true story of two men who defied the rules of their time to launch a medical revolution, set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow south. Working in 1940s Baltimore on an unprecedented technique for performing heart surgery on “blue babies,” Dr. Alfred Blalock and lab technician Vivien Thomas form an impressive team. But even as they race against time to save a dying baby, the two occupy very different places in society. Blalock is the wealthy white Head of Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Thomas is black and poor, a skilled carpenter. As Blalock and Thomas invent a new field of medicine, saving thousands of lives in the process, social pressures threaten to undermine their collaboration and tear their friendship apart.
Te Ata (TAY’ AH-TAH) is based on the inspiring, true story of Mary Thompson Fisher, a woman who traversed cultural barriers to become one of the greatest Native American performers of all time. Born in Indian Territory, and raised on the songs and stories of her Chickasaw tribe, Te Ata’s journey to find her true calling led her through isolation, discovery, love and a stage career that culminated in performances for a United States president, European royalty and audiences across the world. Yet of all the stories she shared, none are more inspiring than her own.
About the passing of the 13th amendment and how it deliberately allowed for slavery of prisoners and how that has evolved. Civil War to Clinton.
About the disparities of the criminal justice system, Story of a black man wrongly convicted and sentenced to death for a murder he didn’t commit.
When They See Us – Netflix
Television miniseries based on the events of the Central Park Jogger case. Five men are falsely accused and prosecuted for the rape and assault of a woman in Central Park, New York City.
Selma – Several platforms
Story of the events in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama when marchers were brutally attacked by police and troopers.
Seeing White with host John Biewen – SceneOnRadio.org
A fourteen-part series exploring “whiteness” and “white privilege” as it developed since the end of slavery.
UNDISTRACTED with Brittany Packnett Cunningham
Brittany Packnett Cunningham is an activist, educator, and popular TV commentator – and a trusted voice for millions of people interested in social justice. Now, with UNDISTRACTED – an original podcast from The Meteor and Pineapple Street Studios – she aims her focus on the most pressing issues of our time through the lens of intersectional feminism. From the latest headlines to deep-dives with today’s most fascinating changemakers, UNDISTRACTED is your weekly guide to the revolution.
Nice White Parents
A five-part series hosted by Chana Joffe-Walt – Serial Productions, a New York Times Company.
If you want to understand what’s wrong with our schools, you have to look at what is arguably the most powerful force in shaping them: white parents.
Facing Race – Hosted by Joyce Taylor – King TV, Sundays at 9:30 pm
Examines race, social justice, and racial inequality in the Pacific Northwest.
An article in the Equality section of the website.
https://www.racepowerofanillusion.org/ – Race – The Power of an Illusion.
A series discussing the origins, beliefs and consequences of what we call race.
What can you do about racism? Investigate the White Homework class.
SEED=Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity
Their work involves fighting hate, teaching tolerance and seeking justice.
https://www.splcenter.org/ – Southern Poverty Law Center.
They are dedicated to fighting hate, teaching tolerance and seeking justice.
Children’s book resources about racism.
https://nmaahc.si.edu/about/news/national-museum-african-american-history-and-culture-releases-talking-about-race-web – Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. A People’s Journey, A Nation’s Story.
A workbook for a 2-day basic workshop and other resources for organizations to use in educating and organizing against racism.
Facebook video that gives background on Ruby Bridges – 6-year old girl – first black student to attend all white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana November 1960.
Race in America – A Holy Post Video
This one is from the creator of Veggie Tales so he comes at racism from a Christian perspective.
Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGUwcs9qJXY
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-yun74BJEc
Part 3(ish) – more about civics and party affiliation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4eS2E-PoGo
Uncomfortable conversations with a Black Man
This series is also pretty good. Although we have some small quibbles with how he presents some things, his take on interracial relationships and raising mixed race kids was spot on.