21-Day Anti-Racism Challenge for Faith Groups
YWCA Evanston/North Shore wants to support you and your congregation in your work toward racial equity.
The Equity Institute at YWCA has created something we hope will support congregations throughout the area in continuing your racial and social justice ministries. Last spring, we developed a 21-Day Stand Against Racism Challenge. We have modified that tool specifically for faith-based settings, and invite you to embark on the 21-Day Anti-Racism Challenge.
How does the Challenge work?
The Challenge is designed to create dedicated time and space to “dig into” racial equity and build more effective social justice habits. Members of your congregation can do it on their own or in a group, such as a small group study with members of your congregation or staff, as a daily challenge or over the course of a multi-week study, and can be personalized to fit your congregation’s context. You can choose to use it 5 days per week, 7 days per week, or weekly for 21 weeks.
Each day, participants can choose among opportunities such as reading an article or blog post, listening to a podcast, or watching a short video (or they can do them all!). Then we encourage reflection on personal experiences or getting to know people or organizations who do anti-racism work in the community, thinking about collaboration opportunities with those organizations, and opportunities for action personalized for your congregation.
Participation in an activity like this helps people:
- discover how racial injustice and social injustice impact congregations and communities
- connect with one another around these issues
- identify ways to dismantle racism and other forms of discrimination
Day 5 – Racism and Religion: A History
Today we look at the history of racism and religion. Since the arrival of Europeans to this land, racism and religion have been deeply intertwined. Starting in 1493, it was decreed that land not held by Christians could be “discovered” by Christians and taken as their own. There are still deeply rooted impacts in many of our faith traditions.
Article: Tisa Wenger discusses how the weaponization of religious freedom connects with racism in Perspective | Discriminating in the name of religion? Segregationists and slaveholders did it, too
Podcast: NPR’s Tom Gjelten explores the history of churches supporting the notion of white supremacy in White Supremacist Ideas Have Historical Roots In U.S. Christianity
Action: Talk to other people within your congregation about the history of your institution. Identify which characteristics of a white-dominant culture you see still showing up within your congregation today. What can individuals, or the congregation as a whole, do to change this?
We encourage you to create opportunities for people to incorporate this tool into programs that already exist (adult faith formation, high school youth or young adult groups, and to gather and reflect. You may also choose to use this tool to collaborate with another congregation or community organization, to build this anti-racist movement together.
Please feel free to contact Eileen Hogan Heineman, Manager of Community Outreach for YWCA’s Equity Institute, if you have questions or ideas to share.
It has been our pleasure to collaborate with Elizabeth Batten, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary MA in Public Ministry Student on this project. Elizabeth is doing her Field Study work with us through December, and has been a much-welcomed addition to the Equity Institute Team these past months.
If you are interested in using this with your congregation, or making it available to your congregation, please submit your info below. Upon receipt, we will provide the 21 days of curriculum, plus a tool kit including sample emails, resources for holding conversations, and bulletin notes to share with your congregation during the challenge.