Basing work for equity and racial justice on a spiritual foundation and on artistic expression might be considered an unusual approach, but it’s one very dear to my heart and very powerful. Though I consider myself to be a lifelong antiracist, I began to focus on racism in a much more intentional and committed way about 15 years ago through attending the Damascus Road Antiracism Analysis training (a program by the Mennonite Church in the U.S.) The training course used Biblical passages as foundational texts, not only to point out individual acts of racism, but more important, to analyze the deeply entrenched racism of institutions and social systems. The many deep, honest discussions among participants of various races and cultural backgrounds were really eye-opening to me, and starting/joining similar talking circles has been very important in my life ever since.
Later I attended a second Damascus Road training for white allies and antiracists, and since then have participated in many, many antiracism workshops and trainings by various organizations. Several programs and circles by Antiracist Study Dialogue Circles (ASDIC) have also been significant in my own learning and development as an antiracist.
Unfortunately, while it seems very clear that our country needs to acknowledge, change, and repair its history of systemic racism and racial bias, our current president and his administration have recently chosen to ban antiracism trainings, in what can only be seen as a direct attack on the struggle for racial justice. May God help us reverse this racist ruling!
My own personal mission is participating in, teaching about, and making more visible God’s kingdom or God’s realm of justice and equality for all. In this way of living, racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination do not exist because all people are God’s children, equally beloved by God, loved by one another, respected, and provided for. This is the world I long for and work toward. But our nation, our states and cities, and most of the institutions we love and serve are far from this ideal, especially in the area of race. Everywhere in the U.S. and much of the rest of the world too, the gap is huge between this kingdom vision of equal access and opportunity for all people, and the actual everyday racism of the world.
This is the reason I founded Equity Kingdom: it has a racial analysis that is spiritually based, socially conscious, and addresses people’s felt experiences. In addition, it tries to focus on local issues and manifestations of what is a global problem of great significance. As an artist, I also want to support and bring into the struggle the arts, visioning, play, drama, protest, and other forms of inspired expression–all coming from the heart and soul with an open and creative spirit–to strengthen and build up our communities. These are among the best tools and activities I’ve come across for opening up people’s hearts and souls (deep feelings) to discussions of race, supporting one another in antiracist work (even in the face of obstacles and challenges), and for following through collectively in areas like events, forums, protests, and education, where we can make a difference.
I have come to think of people engaged in this work to grow equity and justice as my “equity family.” Like a family of related people, we are related too–through our longings, our hopes and dreams, and our work to end racism and bring peace and blessings to all people. We are united in recognizing how all people are beloved by God and in working to manifest that love of God for all people in our country and our world today.
As in other families, it is important for my equity family to take pictures and make note of our activities, events, the lessons we learn, and our progress.
It’s also vital that we support and encourage one another, celebrate one another’s important milestones, and rejoice in God and God’s love for us all without exception.
Together as sisters and brothers united in love, we can expand our worlds and expand the influence of equity, antiracism, and justice for all.