In late May of this year, the news broke of the death of George Floyd. What followed was a groundswell of emotional reactions from across the country and the world. At FUMC Hurst, one of our responses was to scrap our July plans and invite people in Sunday school classes and small groups to talk about systemic racism. The staff provided resources and questions to guide the discussions and, afterward, I sent out a survey and asked several individuals about what they thought. More often than not, they said the experience was good—informative and enlightening—but they were struggling with what to do next. I struggled with that too.
August came and went and I continued to wonder about next steps. Obviously, our prayers were going to continue; our learning and listening was not going to stop. But, what else could we do? What can anyone one of us do to end racial injustice? One night I was mindlessly thumbing through Facebook when I saw a co-worker’s post—30 Days of Anti-Racism published by the General Commission on Race and Religion of the United Methodist Church. As Barbara, my co-worker, said in her post, “It’s a great way to start working toward becoming anti-racist. Let’s move beyond learning and into doing.”
Well, there you go. Ask and it shall be given to you.
There are at least two reasons I love this 30 Days of Anti-Racism:
1) It offers so many good ideas for moving us (me) in the right direction, like learning more about my local elections or supporting black-owned businesses. Granted, not all the suggestions work for me and may not work for others. For instance, I’m not planning on participating in an anti-racial demonstration if I can’t gather with others at my church on Sunday morning. But, for the most part, these ideas did get me to thinking about all the things I am able to do right now.
2) Reading through the thirty items, I was excited to see how many of the things can be done through the ministries at FUMC Hurst. For instance:
- 9/03 Participate in intercultural conversations.
- 9/04 Volunteer or donate in support of a food bank.
- 9/10 Learn greetings and phrases in another language.
- 9/18 Find a mentor who is from a different cultural background than your own.
- 9/25 Amplify the voices of people of color by inviting them as speakers in worship or other events.
Many of us have said, “What can we do next?” The General Commission on Race and Religion has given us plenty of action items—even things within our church. Are we ready to take action?