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Readings for Reflection: January 2016
from the Committee on Ministry and Counsel

LEYM Annual Query 2015

Friends will have the opportunity to consider this year’s query from Lake Erie Yearly Meeting’s Ministry & Nurture Committee the evening of Friday, February 5, in the Fellowship Room (see announcements for more details). The query appears below, preceded by an introductory quotation and followed by several relevant passages.

For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; I was naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.                                                                                                                ~ Matthew 25: 35–36, Jerusalem Bible

The Query

How might our Meeting support individuals and the Meeting as a whole in working to increase racial justice within our world? In what ways do we as a Meeting recognize white privilege in our own Meeting? What tools and practices do we use to foster awareness of our personal and corporate biases?

Helpful Passages

Given what is at stake at this moment in history, bolder, more inspired action is required than we have seen to date…. Taking our cue from the courageous civil rights advocates who brazenly refused to defend themselves, marching unarmed past white mobs that threatened to kill them, we, too, must be the change we hope to create.

~ Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow, p. 258

People with advantages are loath to believe that they just happen to be people with advantages.

~ Charles Wright Mills, American sociologist

Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: ... How does it feel to be a problem? ... One ever feels his two-ness, – an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. ... He would not Afri-canize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in his face.

~ W.E.B. Du Bois,
“Strivings of the Negro People,” 1897

The world should not pass judgment upon the negro, and especially the negro youth, too quickly or too harshly. The negro boy has obstacles, discouragements, and temptations to battle with that are little known to those not situated as he is. When a white boy undertakes a task, it is taken for granted that he will succeed. On the other hand, people are usually surprised if the negro boy does not fail. In a word, the negro youth starts out with the presumption against him.

~ Booker T. Washington,
Up from Slavery: An Autobiography

We must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most segregated major institution in America. At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation. This is tragic. Nobody of honesty can overlook this. Now, I’m sure that if the church had taken a stronger stand all along, we wouldn’t have many of the problems that we have. The first way that the church can repent, the first way that it can move out into the arena of social reform, is to remove the yoke of segregation from its own body.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963

All Readings for Reflection
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