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Dismantling Racism: July 1 Town Hall
The upcoming July 4th holiday has many of us in the United States thinking about our nation's history. What does it mean to celebrate the Fourth of July when we haven't yet realized #JusticeForBreonna? How can we sing about the "land of the free" when we still hear George Floyd crying out for his mama?
Many of us are wrestling with how we can most faithfully understand and interpret the realities of this present moment, both for ourselves and for our congregations. From pulpits and pews, we pray and hope for a yet-unrealized future where Black lives matter as much to our nation's decision-makers—and to each person of faith—as they do to our almighty God.
In the midst of this vital work of reckoning with the present and reimagining the future, we extend to you an invitation to be like the Sankofa bird: to look back, even as we move forward.
The Council of Bishops, the General Commission on Religion and Race, the General Board of Church and Society and United Methodist Women invite you to join a Town Hall conversation on July 1 at UMC.org/EndRacism, where we will take a deep dive into the true (and sometimes suppressed!) history of our nation and church. A panel of experts will dialogue with each other and with the audience as we engage key questions:
- Are we telling the story of our nation's history from the perspective of the lion or the lamb? How has a culture of white supremacy and settler colonialism distorted our understanding of our shared past?What are the truths we need to learn—and the lies we need to un-learn—about US history?
- What about our church ancestors? How and when have United Methodists furthered racist national projects and caused real harm? How and when have United Methodists showed up on the side of Jesus, justice and freedom for all peoples?
- How might a careful look into this past enable us to build a more Gospel-grounded future together -- for the church, the country and the broader world?
This one-hour Town Hall will be moderated by General Secretary of the General Commission on Religion & Race Erin Hawkins with expert panelists Rev. Dr. Bobby McClain, Dr. Lisa Dellinger, Rev. Fred Day III, and Dr. Alison Greene to explore the history of the United States and the United Methodist Church, racial (in)justice and where God is calling us to go next.
We hope that this first Town Hall will lay the groundwork for future conversations. The second Town Hall in this series will focus on intersectional activism across the generations, bringing together United Methodist movement elders and emerging leaders, to explore both "old school" and "new school" approaches to organizing for racial justice in church and community. Look for this next Town Hall on a July/August date to be announced. Please join us for the full series!