Racial justice: 

Continuing the Conversation at

St. Paul-Reformation

Listening and Learning together

For the past several years, SPR has been engaged in intentional conversation, work, and self-examination in regards to racial justice.  This work is not over, but is ongoing and continues to help us learn, grow, and change as a community that is rooted in Jesus Christ.  


Working with our Synod, other parishes, and other community groups, we are always looking for ways to expand this conversation, learn more, and work for meaningful change.  On this page, you can learn about some of the ways that we have been engaged in this work, as well as finding some resources that may be of help to you on your own journey.  

Resources for Learning

There are many resources for learning about racial justice and anti-racism.  Likewise, there are many organizations working to help this conversation advance...and tangible, workable goals for racial justice in our city, state, and nation.  Here are some of the ways that SPR has been learning:

  • Robin diangelo: "White fragility: Why it's so hard for white people to talk about Racism."

    In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.


    Below, a video of Robin DiAngelo speaking at the Seattle Central Library:


  • Debby Irving: "Waking Up White"

    Waking Up White is the book Irving wishes someone had handed her decades ago. By sharing her sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, she offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As Irving unpacks her own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, she reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race. She also explains why and how she's changed the way she talks about racism, works in racially mixed groups, and understands the antiracism movement as a whole. Exercises at the end of each chapter prompt readers to explore their own racialized ideas. Waking Up White's personal narrative is designed to work well as a rapid read, a book group book, or support reading for courses exploring racial and cultural issues.


    Below, author Deby Irving speaks at the Berklee College of Music:


  • Sun yung shin, ed.  "A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota"

    "Reading this book in community offers some Minnesotans the opportunity to see their experiences broadly shared and others a chance to educate themselves―and to discover ways to act on their convictions."

    In this provocative book, sixteen of Minnesota's best writers provide a range of perspectives on what it is like to live as a person of color in Minnesota. They give readers a splendid gift: the gift of touching another human being's inner reality, behind masks and veils and politeness. They bring us generously into experiences that we must understand if we are to come together in real relationships.

    Minnesota communities struggle with some of the nation's worst racial disparities. As its authors confront and consider the realities that lie beneath the numbers, this book provides an important tool to those who want to be part of closing those gaps.

    With contributions by:

    Taiyon J. Coleman, Heid E. Erdrich, Venessa Fuentes, Shannon Gibney, David Grant, Carolyn Holbrook, IBé, Andrea Jenkins, Robert Karimi, JaeRan Kim, Sherry Quan Lee, David Mura, Bao Phi, Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria, Diane Wilson, and Kao Kalia Yang


    Below, a conversation of many of the authors included, sponsored by the Mahtomedi Public School District:


  • Books, MOvies, and Resources

    Learning all you can helps lead to greater understanding and awareness.  Here, the SPR Racial Justice Team has complied a list of books, movies, and other resources to help get you started.  You can download the full list as a .pdf by clicking here.

  • ONline Conversations from the ELCA

    Webinar: Becoming the Body of Christ, from the Southeastern Synod, ELCA:


    Racial Disparity in the Age of COVID-19:



  • It's not white fragility, it's white flammability

    The Racial Justice Team is sharing this article from Sun Yung Shin, editor of A Good Time for the Truth, as a timely follow up to our Lyceum on White Fragility by Robin Di’Angelo.  You can access the article by clicking here.


    As you read it, reflect on the numerous racialized incidents that have occurred this past year: the white-bodied woman in Central Park calling the cops on the black-bodied man who is birdwatching; the actions of the white-bodied police officer in the murder of George Floyd; and in the lived experiences shared by the three young men in our July Lyceum session. Everyday, there are many more incidents we could point out - many more you have seen on the news. 

     

    After reading the article, ask yourself: How does my fragility show up in conversations on race? Are my reactions flammable? Am I separating myself from the conversation or inviting myself further into the conversation?