One in Christ, We Stand Against Racism
In response to the national conversation about racial justice and the death of George Floyd in May 2020, The Reformed Church formed an Action Committee for Race and Justice to identify concrete steps and resources that our congregation can take to address racial justice issues and work towards a multiracial future free of racism. (As of December 2021, this committee has expanded its scope of work and has been renamed the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion.)
We believe that showing up for racial justice is a necessary step forward, and we must stay grounded in prayer and God’s Word to guide our actions. But we also recognize that prayers alone are not enough. This page—a work in progress—is intended to update our congregation and community about our ongoing action steps, including those related to racial justice, and to provide educational resources to those who want to learn more.
Recent Action Steps
- In fall 2021, offered a discussion series based on Jemar Tisby’s book How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Social Justice. This was co-facilitated by RCB’s Director of Missional Engagement Mary Mackintosh and The Rev. Dr. Pat Sealy, Pastor of Mott Haven Reformed Church in the Bronx.
- 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. In January 2022, The Rev. Dr. Micah McCreary, President of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, will preach. In February 2022, The Rev. Dr. Denise Kingdom Grier, founder of the 1Cor13 Project, will grace the pulpit.
- Ongoing work with Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE), in which RCB congregants with are paired 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.
The Reformed Church in America offers a number of online resources on its website, which you can access here.
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.
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
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
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
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