Racial Justice

One in Christ, We Stand Against Racism

In response to the death of George Floyd in May 2020, and the national conversation about racial justice that continues, The Reformed Church formed an Action Committee for Race and Justice to identify concrete steps and resources our congregation can use to work for a multiracial future free of racism.

We believe we must stay grounded in prayer and God’s Word to move forward. But prayers, of course, are not enough. This page—a work in progress—is intended update our congregation and community about our ongoing action steps and identify educational resources.

 

Recent Action Steps

  • Offered a workshop on unconscious bias led by two certified diversity professionals (CDPs) in the Office of Institutional Equity at a major Ivy League-affiliated organization in New York City. The goal of the training was to help us understand the complexity of racial dynamics, examine unconscious biases and identify how we as a church might be living out parts of systemic racism unintentionally.
  • Created (and continue to create) ongoing partnerships with local churches and organizations of color to form relationships through social gatherings, outreach projects and worship services to learn from each other.
  • Prioritize inviting guest speakers of color to preach and/or participate in Sunday Service and education programs.
  • Joined with Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE) to match RCB congregants with youth in a low-income, urban school district, many of whom are students of color. In helping the youth with academics and college preparation, church members and students are learning much from each other.
  • Ongoing sensitivity to language in worship and inclusion of music by composers of color. Artists of color perform regularly.
  • Continual addition of books exploring race and ethnicity to the children’s and adult libraries.

Resources

Denominational Resources

The Reformed Church in America offers a number of online resources on its website, which you can access here

Books

The following list of books and films (which continues to evolve) was put together with help from our clergy networks. Some of the resources we have read or watched and found helpful; others have been recommended to us by people we trust.

Faith/Theology

James H. Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation

James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree

Kelly Brown Douglas, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God

Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America

Peter J. Gomes, The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart (especially chapter 5:“The Bible and Race: The Moral Imagination”)

Jacqueline Grant, White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus: Feminist Christology and Womanist Response

Drew G.I. Hart, Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism

Willie James Jennings, The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race

Martin Luther King, Jr., A Testament of Hope

Martin Luther King, Jr. (ed. By Cornel West), The Radical King

Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love

Jacqueline Lewis, The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations

Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited

Jemar Tisby, How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice

Jim Wallis, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America

Delores S. Williams, Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk 

General Non-Fiction

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Michael Bennett and Dave Zirin, Things That Make White People Uncomfortable

Angela Y. Davis, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement

Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk

Debby Irving, Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race

Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist

Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

Audre Lord, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Wes Moore, The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination

Toni Morrison, The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations

Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race

Nell Irvin Painter, The History of White People

Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of Hour Our Government Segregated America

Beverly Daniel Tatum, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent

Memoir

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Margo Jefferson, Negroland: A Memoir

Kiese Laymon, Heavy: An American Memoir

Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

DOCUMENTARY FILMS

13th, directed by Ava DuVernay

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, directed by Kundhardt McGee Productions

Althea, directed by Rex Miller

The Birth of a Movement, directed by Bestor Cram and Susan Gray

Black America Since MLK, directed by Sabin Streeter, Talleah Bridges McMahon, Leah Williams,

Leslie Asako Gladsjo

February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four, directed by Rebecca Cerese

Freedom Summer, directed by Stanley Nelson

I Am Not Your Negro, directed by Raoul Peck

Just Mercy, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton

Mr. Civil Rights: Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP, directed by Mick Caouette

Not Black Enough, directed by Tracey Anarella

Slavery and the Making of America, produced by Dante J. James

The Uncomfortable Truth, directed by Loki Mulholland

The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, directed by Keith Beauchamp