At annual meeting in May, Follen made a striking commitment, a bold assertion: that we will become an intentionally and proactively antiracist congregation.
How we will do that?
Public witness, in the form of a banner affirming that black lives matter, dominated much of the conversation this spring. A subgroup composed of folks from the Follen Responds to Racism (FRR) team and parish board are busy figuring out the logistical details involved. Our goal to have our new banner (or at least its first iteration) up in September.
There are many considerations related to public witness: logistics, design, internal and external communications, and a celebratory event. Would you be interested in joining the effort to help make this happen in the best way possible?
And what about all the other work, the deeper process that the banner represents and the resolution calls for? It seems likely that we are not all in the same place when it comes to understanding racism in America and our place in it as a congregation and as individuals. Some people will be delving into this for the first time. Others have been learning, thinking, and acting for justice for many years. But regardless of how “woke” we may be, it seems likely that fulfilling our commitment will require being open to discomfort, to shock and sadness and disillusionment. And also growth, compassion, and connection.
The FRR has begun the work of figuring out… well, of figuring out everything. Who will do the work? What exactly is the work? How can we join forces with existing structures within Follen? How will we be sure to link racism to other forms of injustice or prejudice? What needs to be started up for the first time? Continued or strengthened? What outside resources can we draw upon? How will we share with our larger communities? How do we make sure there is joy to sustain the effort? How do we measure success? How will we hold ourselves accountable?
Phew! And that’s just for starters.
FRR is a group of about 11 people. We had lots of support leading up to the vote on the resolution, and we need even more now. We are forming subgroups to tackle areas of focus: raising nonracist children, adult education—which can take many forms, and the banner. These groups may evolve and break further into specific areas, and altogether new groups will surely be needed.
We count on Follen to give its best, everything from one-off support to heavy lifting and leadership. It will take courage. It will take community. It will take you.
How will you engage in this effort? Please contact any member of the FRR team, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome discussing the possibilities and how they mesh with your interests.
Let’s do this!
From the FRR team: Nancy Alloway, Marcia Butman, Maggie Herzig, Kathy Hoban, Tempe Goodhue (chair), Rev. Susanne Intriligator, Nancy McCarthy, Harriet Peterson, Catherine Rielly, Wilma Ronco, and Robin Tartaglia, plus Lisa Snellings, Hill Snellings, and Ann Schauffler, who temporarily need to step back from day-to-day FRR activities.