Racial Justice & Reform

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"Not everything is lost. Responsibility cannot be lost, it can only be abdicated. If one refuses abdication, one begins again." —James Baldwin

In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Trinity Excelsior has committed itself anew to the long and enduring ministry of racial justice, freedom, and reconciliation by way of the dismantling of systemic racism entrenched in all aspects of our society and communities.  
 
We come to this work as Christians, as Episcopalians, and as disciples of Jesus Christ.  We come to this work as a faith community that embodies different views, experiences, perceptions, and histories - as white people and as people of color. We are different, yet we are united in our baptism, through our values and beliefs, and in our love and affection for each other.    
 
At the heart of who we are, and what we believe, are the promises we make at baptism: that we will spend our whole lives striving “to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves…” and “for justice and peace among all people…and respect[ing] the dignity of every human being.”  These are our foundational promises - to each other and to God.  We “make good” on these vows when we understand them as requiring a life-long pursuit, our life’s joyful work and purpose.  
 
The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, is calling on us, the “Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement,” to focus our work of racial justice and reconciliation through learning, prayer, and action.  It’s an evolving process, not about one-off conferences, trainings, and box-checking.  It’s a holy process of transformation, about learning “new ways,” walking more and more closely with Jesus, and changing the course of our lives through discovery, repentance, and justice.  
 
At Trinity we will walk this path together with grace and tenacity.  Along the way it might be tempting to feel overwhelmed, confused, hurt, scared, uncomfortable, or unsure of where to start anew. But start anew we will, and we are. Let us begin. 
 
A powerful way to begin this walk is to make a pilgrimage to the George Floyd Memorial site. Directions and guidance available here.

LEARN

“You write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you probably can’t, but also knowing that literature is indispensable to the world….The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even but a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.” (James Baldwin)

Guidance from Our Leaders

Online Resources

  • The Episcopal Church resources on racial reconciliation and justice include study resources, bibliographies, videos, programs, and a section on how to speak with children about race. Especially notable is a video discussion series entitled Sacred Ground.
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  • The Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing is a ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, providing trainings, resources, pilgrimages, and a youth curriculum on race. Their 3-part series on “reimagining policing” is here.
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  • The Equal Justice Institute is the home of Bryan Stevenson (author of “Just Mercy”). EJI has excellent resources to help us understand the discussion about police reform.
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PRAY

 

We do not know how to do what we know to do.
We do not know how to be what we know to be.
Our little lives, our big problems – these we place upon Your altar!
Pour out upon us whatever our spirits need
            of shock, of life, of release
            that we may find strength for these days –
            courage and hope for tomorrow.
In confidence we rest in Your sustaining grace
            which makes possible triumph in defeat,
            gain in loss, and love in hate.
We rejoice this day to say:
            our little lives, our big problems –
            these we place upon Your altar!

 

—Howard Thurman        

ACT

“This crisis reflects deep sores and deep wounds that have been here all along. In the midst of COVID-19 and the pressure cooker of a society in turmoil, a man was brutally killed. The basic human right to life was taken away. His basic human dignity was stripped by someone charged to protect our common humanity. And perhaps the deeper pain of this is the fact that it’s not an isolated incident. The pain of this is that it’s a deep part of our life. It’s not just our history. It is American society today. We are not, however, slaves to our fate … unless we choose to do nothing.”  (Presiding Bishop Michael Curry)