Racial Justice Institute Pre-Festival Offering
A day to talk about race, in a way you may never have before.
Are you tired of conversations about race that quickly turn into shouting matches? Do you feel awkward, as a white person, bringing up race, or feel your “help” is not wanted in movements like Black Lives Matter? Do you feel frustrated, as a person of color, being asked to explain things to white folks? Do you want to know the difference between “celebrating diversity” and “challenging racial injustice”? Whose job is it to educate others about race-based social disparities? Is it possible to confront white privilege, promote racial justice, and still have friends?
Join us for a one-day interactive workshop to talk, pray, sing, learn, reflect, heal, ask tough questions and discover creative ways to address racial injustice, together. This personal and communal journey will be facilitated by a group of gifted and wise, multiracial and interdisciplinary facilitators including Micky ScottBey Jones, Dr. Paul Alexander, Kenji Kuramitsu, Rev. Jennifer Bailey and many more.
This is your chance to talk deeply and honestly about race, in a place where you will be respected and listened to. A time to feel, contemplate and reflect, sing, pray, possibly even laugh, and most importantly, figure out how we can individually – and collectively – do something about racial injustice.
Contact Micky ScottBey Jones for more information.
Why do a whole extra day about Racial Justice? Won’t that be a big part of the festival?
Sure it will. There will be conversations and talks and storytelling and music around this subject throughout the festival. And on lots of other subjects.
This is a time to drill down, to participate in a facilitated conversation where you can engage honestly and openly, be comfortable asking uncomfortable questions, and spend more focused time with other people coming up with ideas for transformative action.
As you leave this event, we think your head will be spinning with new ideas, new understandings, and an increased depth of awareness, so as you go into the festival you’ll very likely enter into it more deeply than you would have before. Our facilitators will also be leading workshops throughout the festival, so participating in RJI will prepare you to get even more from those sessions. Not to mention you may also make some friends you can hang out with throughout the festival.
Who is this for?
Everyone who wants to have a deep, open, challenging, thoughtful conversation about race and oppression. It is for people of color and for white people. It’s for people just beginning to engage issues of race, and those who have been engaged for years and need fresh perspectives.
What will I take home from it?
More awareness and wisdom. You might even leave with a commitment to change your life and the systems around you.
Why should I attend?
Because although ignorance can be bliss, one person’s bliss can create another’s hell. Attending this will create knowledgeable bliss and less hell. It’s backwards that way.
What will I learn?
How we’ve gotten to this place where certain people have privilege and others have been “disprivileged,” how it hurts, and what we can do about it.
How you fit into the story of race, inequality and justice and what that means for you.
How race has shaped American culture and systems like education, prison, economics and civil rights, where we are today and where we might be going.
How none of us are free until we are all free, and the beauty of getting there together.
What will we do all day?
Open our raw hearts so that the tenderness becomes fearlessness.
Yeah, but are we going to sit and listen to people talk all day?
Only if you want to. You can also speak if you’d like to share. And participate in all kinds of other ways. Which is why we call it an interactive workshop.
In what way will this workshop be “interactive”?
Through contemplative exercises, meal time and small group conversations, occasional singing, journaling, even, yes, possibly dancing. (For those who see themselves as “dancing challenged,” don’t worry, we aren’t talking “Dancing with the Stars” dancing.)
Is this going to involve a lot of debate?
Only if you can find someone to debate with. We’re planning opportunities for one-on-one conversations with each other and with the leaders…no game playing, just sharing our best truths. Clear-eyed, vulnerable, compassionate truths.
Why are there so many people leading?
We want everyone to feel welcome, and we don’t want anyone to feel alone. Also, race isn’t just about black and white. So we’ve included facilitators with many different stories, many different perspectives and experiences — black, white, Asian, Latinx, straight, queer, gay, 40s to 20s, Anglican to evangelical, black-churched to Pentecostal.
I heard there might be a campfire…will this be just another feel good campfire conversation about race?
It will be more like being the marshmallow in the campfire. We’ll let the flames burn away our sugary falseness.
Here’s what I’m scared of: Am I going to get yelled at? Am I going to leave feeling more frustrated and/or guilt-ridden?
We recognize it can be scary to talk about race. We have created RJI to provide a place to experiment with being brave, to ask questions that bring up big feelings, risk vulnerability and to crack open complex ideas. In the process, perhaps we will find personal and cultural healing. Even transformation. It’s designed to be a day that leaves you not with more guilt but with deeper knowledge, inspiration, different questions and new relationships as well as resources and ideas for action. We hope that you’ll be changed and leave ready to help create change in the world.
Is there an actual schedule for the event?
Yes, subject to the needs of the group and pace of conversation.
Micky ScottBey Jones is a “contemplivist” leader and organizer who hosts & facilitates conferences, trainings and online conversations, writes & speaks on a variety of topics including self-care in community (healing justice), contemplative activism, intersectionality, race & justice & theology from the margins, and curates contemplative spaces/activities. Micky was recently named one of the Black Christian leaders changing the world in Huffington Post. MORE
Rev. Jennifer Bailey, Founder and Executive Director of Faith Matters Network was named one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress. Rev. Jennifer Bailey is an ordained minister, public theologian, and emerging national leader in multi-faith movement for justice. She is the Founding Executive Director of the Faith Matters Network, a new interfaith community equipping faith leaders to challenge structural inequality in their communities. MORE
Kenji Kuramitsu is a social worker and Anglican seminarian at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL. He is a noted educator on issues of racism, doing theology online, and LGBTQ families. His writing has appeared in the Pacific Citizen, Inheritance Magazine, and Smile Politely Magazine. Kenji currently serves on the National Board of the Japanese American Citizens League, the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights group in the United States, and the Reformation Project, a Christian direct action organization engaging the Church on LGBTQ advocacy. Connect with him on Twitter @afreshmind More
AnaYelsi Velasco-Sanchez is an Indo-Latinx interlocking mujerista living in the Latin diaspora. She is a cis-straight ally working for The Reformation Project (TRP) as their Organizing and Programs Director. TRP is working to Change the way churches think and act when it comes to the LGBT community by training Christians to support and affirm gender and sexual minorities. MORE
Kristyn Komarnicki is ESA’s director of communications. Passionate about relational wholeness, she writes and speaks about both sexual justice and sexual exploitation; helping Christians understand pornography as hate speech that it is directly linked to human trafficking is a particular concern of hers. She also directs ESA’s Oriented to Love dialogues about sexual diversity in the church. These help Christians of different sexual, gender, and theological orientations come together to get to know, understand, and love each other, unified by the love of Christ.
Sarah Withrow King is the Deputy Director of The Sider Center of Eastern University and the co-Director of CreatureKind, which engages the church on farmed animal welfare issues. After college, Sarah went straight to work in the nonprofit world, ensuring her lifelong material poverty. Wanting to combine her faith with her passion for advocacy on behalf of the oppressed and marginalized, Sarah obtained an MTS with a concentration in Christian Faith and Public Policy MORE