#knowCLT Systemic racism
What is Systemic Racism and how does it show up in our everyday lives in Charlotte in ways that are not obvious or to which we are blind? None of us wants to admit to being racist, and yet those of us who are white have benefited - and continue to benefit - from both covert and overt racism that has been built into so much of the structures that we consider ‘normal’ in our culture. Racism has played a large role in shaping education, housing, healthcare, criminal justice, economic opportunity, city planning, real estate development and so much more in our city. While we are not alone as a community in this happening, it is time to unpack some of this and begin to question how we can work towards equity for everyone.
Join us via Zoom on the Wednesdays in October at 7 PM for an hour as we talk with people in our community who have been impacted by the effects of systemic racism, who have studied its impact, and who are working towards equity for everyone. Registration links for each program are provided below.
The first program in our series will explore how racism has shaped the education system (both public and private) in our city and county. We’ll discuss how Charlotte was once a model of integration, but in the last few decades, has become deeply re-segregated. We’ll look at what policies have promoted this move backwards, including property tax allocations. We’ll also talk about the adultification (treating a young person as more mature than they actually are) of African American children and teens, and how implicit bias affects the interactions between educators and students of color. Our guests will help us explore the toll that systemic racism takes on mental health and overall educational outcomes.
We continue our series by looking at how housing, neighborhoods and urban development have been affected by systemic racism through redlining, VA loan accessibility, urban ‘renewal,’ the subprime mortgage debacle and (more recently in Charlotte) gentrification/displacement. We’ll also touch on environmental justice that questions why poor neighborhoods always seem to be where highways and industrial pollution are prevalent while health care and affordable grocery stores are absent.
In our third segment, we explore systemic racism through the lens of healthcare. What are the physical and mental impacts that systemic racism has on people? How do implicit bias and disparities in access to healthcare affect the health outcomes of people of color? How does having (or not having) insurance/Medicaid affect the care available to people of color? How do we ensure that all neighborhoods within Charlotte have access to good healthcare, healthy and affordable food, green space, and transportation?
In our fourth and final segment of this series, with co-host Barlow Mann, we will explore systemic racism’s multiple manifestations in our criminal justice system. Topics include overcriminalization (e.g. high penalties for non-violent offenses), criminal procedure (e.g. stop and frisk), mandatory sentencing, cash bail bonds, public defender overload, implicit bias, and the permanent effect of having a felony on one’s record that inhibits voting and the ability to be hired. We’ll look at how and why our criminal justice system has been used to incarcerate and affect the lives of a disproportionately high percentage of people of color and their communities.
We are partners in Christ's ministry of reconciliation.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. - 1 Corinthians 5:16-18 NRSV
We invite you into these opportunities to partner with other parishioners in our common pursuit of reconciliation and social justice.
"Faith is taking the next step, even when you can't see the whole staircase." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
What is the next step?
"...to engage, equip and empower people to love God, care for each other and serve the world in the name of Christ."
In this tumultuous time of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the midst of the protests over the killing of George Floyd, everyone seems to be asking, "What do I do now? What's the next step?" How do we advocate - like the Good Samaritan - for our neighbor(s) in need? How do we minister effectively and faithfully to 'the least of these'? How do we seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves, and respecting the dignity of every human being?
As Christians, we are each called by God to act - to do the work that God has given us to do. And for each of us, that action, that work, will look different. What gifts has God placed in you? What concerns in our community or the world stir your heart? What resources (financial, time, social connections, energy and physical ability, experience...) do you have at your disposal?
Before we can act, we need to understand the various perspectives and complexities of any issue to help us avoid a "Ready, Fire, Aim!" result. Here are some sources to help you engage with current issues and to help equip you for advocacy from a faith perspective. We will soon be posting a resource corner on our Outreach and Mission web page as well.
Episcopal News Service (can subscribe for a daily email)
Episcopal Public Policy Network (can sign up for regular notifications)
Episcopal Migration Ministries (can subscribe to newsletter)
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's Pentecost 2020 Sermon at Washington National Cathedral
Sacred Ground: A Dialogue on Race and Faith
Sacred Ground is a film- and readings-based dialogue series on race, grounded in faith. Small groups are invited to walk through chapters of America’s history of race and racism, while weaving in threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity. Many groups are already in progress. Learn more and register here »
Legacy and Justice pilgrimage
Montgomery and Selma, Alabama
From police shootings to incarceration statistics, and from school accessibility to poverty rates, racism is a present reality that plagues our city and our country. Our faith calls us to confront and confess our failures and fears in order that we may be reconciled one with another. Please consider joining us on our next pilgrimage to the Legacy and Justice Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. Established by the Equal Justice Initiative, these sites give Americans an opportunity to learn and respond to some of the racial injustice of our collective past. Learn more and register for the next pilgrimage »