If you have worshiped with Ekklesia for any length of time, you know that whenever there is a month with five Sundays, we dedicate the 5th Sunday of that month to the topic of racial justice.

There are many things we are doing very well as a church, but there are, of course, many where we can grow and improve. Racial awareness and diversity is certainly one of those places. The conversation about race is not intended to be confined only to 5th Sundays. It is an ongoing conversation, heart change, and call to action; hence this resource page.

In March of 2019, we read Jemar Tisby’s book The Color of Compromise together as a church. You can purchase it here: audio / kindle / hardcover. In his book, Jemar offers a helpful framework for what it will take to move toward decisive action to end the church’s complicity with racial injustice: The ARC of Racial Justice. 1) Awareness, 2) Relationships, and 3) Commitment. The resources (books, articles, videos, documentaries, etc) on this page are arranged according to this framework.

This is a living document, which means it will improve over time with new resources being added. Please bookmark this page by pressing Command-D on Mac or Ctrl-D on Windows. If you make a commitment to engage just one of these resources every two weeks, you would steadily find yourself more informed on the topic of racial justice and increasingly well equipped to make a difference. And so, engage!! And enjoy!!

Awareness

(books)

An acclaimed, timely narrative of how people of faith have historically — up to the present day — worked against racial justice. And a call for urgent action by all Christians today in response. [view]

Dominique Gilliard explores the history and foundation of mass incarceration, examining Christianity’s role in its evolution and expansion. [view]

Rethinking Incarceration

Dominique DuBois Gilliard
Rethinking Incarceration

This “powerful and disturbing history” exposes how American governments deliberately imposed racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide (New York Times Book Review). [view]

The Color of Law

Richard Rothstein
The Color of Law

“Angie Thomas has written a stunning, brilliant, gut-wrenching novel that will be remembered as a classic of our time.” – John Green [view]

Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. [view]

The New Jim Crow

Michelle Alexander
The New Jim Crow

A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time. (New York Times) [view]

Just Mercy

Bryan Stevenson
Just Mercy

(videos)

Systemic racism affects every area of life in the US. From incarceration rates to predatory loans, and trying to solve these problems requires changes in major parts of our system. Here’s a closer look at what systemic racism is, and how we can solve it. [watch]

In 1912, news of a violent sexual assault enraged the residents of Georgia’s Forsyth County and led to a lynching and the execution of two African American teens, as well as a campaign of terror to drive out the entire black community. [watch]

It is the things we don’t say and the matters we don’t discuss with our children that find their way into racist dialogue and thinking. [watch]

In 1968, Congress passed the Fair Housing Act that made it illegal to discriminate in housing. Gene Demby of NPR’s Code Switch explains why neighborhoods are still so segregated today. [watch]

In an engaging and personal talk — with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks — human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America’s justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines. [watch]

We Need to Talk About an Injustice

TED Talk – Bryan Stevenson
We Need to Talk About an Injustice

CNN’s Sara Sidner takes us back to a time in America’s history many would like to forget. [watch]

In part one, author and scholar Richard Rothstein says explicit government policy, not personal choice or redlining was the main force that segregated America. [watch]

(essays / articles)

I, Racist
by John Metta
A couple weeks ago, I was debating what I was going to talk about in this sermon …[more]

The Case for Reparations
by Ta-Nehisis Coates
Clyde ross was born in 1923, the seventh of 13 children, near Clarksdale, Mississippi, the home of the blues …[more]

Letter to My Son
by Ta-Nehisis Coates
Son, last Sunday the host of a popular news show asked me what it meant to lose my body …[more]

My black privilege
by Thomas Chatterton Williams
A couple of years ago, I participated in an Aspen Institute symposium on the state of race. During the roundtable that followed the panels, as I spoke about my experiences growing up black in the 1990s …[more]

Can We Overcome Racial Bias?
by Ailsa Chang (NPR)
Jennifer Eberhardt has been interested in issues of race and bias since she was a child …[more]

Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life
Columbia University
Although the civil rights movement had a significant effect on changing racial interactions in this society …[more]

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America
by Kiese Laymon
I’ve had guns pulled on me by four people under Central Mississippi skies — once by a white undercover cop, once by a young brother trying to rob me for the leftovers of a weak work-study check, once by my mother and twice by myself …[more]

Speaking in Tongues
by Zadie Smith
Hello. This voice I speak with these days, this English voice with its rounded vowels and consonants in more or less the right place—this is not the voice of my childhood …[more]

Growing up black in America
by Brian Jones
As a middle-class, light-skinned black man I am ‘better’ by American standards but there is no amount …[more]

Wanted: A White Leader Able to Free Whites of Racism
by Derrick Bell
I arrive as the Edward L. Barrett Lecturer having worked for more than forty years to promote civil rights …[more]

The Price of Black Ambition
by Roxane Gay
You never know when or if you’ll get a big break as a writer. You write and write and write and hope that someone out there …[more]

A Letter to My Nephew
by James Baldwin
Dear James: I have begun this letter five times and torn it up five times. I keep seeing your face, which is also the face of your father and my brother….[more]

Relationships

Jemar Tisby developed the ARC of racial justice to give ideas for decisive actions against discrimination. The “R” stands for developing interracial relationships. Although awareness of issues involving race is a great starting point, being aware isn’t enough. This knowledge will remain abstract until you care about the people who face the negative consequences of racism.

According to Tisby, “The long history of racial segregation in this country coupled with the tendency to associate with those most like ourselves has left all of us in mostly homogenous social networks.” Therefore, there often needs to be intentionality to diversify our social circles. The following are ways to develop meaningful authentic relationships that can cross the traditional lines of social division:

(resources)

A young African-American musician seemed an unlikely candidate to take on the Ku Klux Klan – but Daryl Davis used honesty, respect and human understanding to break down and dissolve the bitter, time-worn barriers that he encountered. [watch]

Champ Bailey’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech from August, 2019. In particular, watch the clip from 26:51 – 29:39 where he talks about the black experience in America.[watch]

Champ Bailey
The Denver Post
Former Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey spoke for 30 minutes and 34 seconds during his Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement speech on Saturday night and he saved some of his most powerful words for last …[more]

Diversity advocate Vernā Myers looks closely at some of the subconscious attitudes we hold toward out-groups. She makes a plea to all people: Acknowledge your biases. Then move toward, not away from, the groups that make you uncomfortable. [watch]

(additional thoughts)

Diversifying Your Social Networks

  • Work out at a gym in a different area of the Triangle
  • Join an interest/affinity group not in your neighborhood (pickle ball, hiking, model building, etc)
  • Reorganize your spatial habits. Instead of staying in your neighborhood, change up the places you go in your daily routine: Grocery store, dry cleaners, restaurants, hangouts, etc.
  • Volunteer at school other than your own neighborhood

Patronize POC businesses

  • Premier Cakes: 6617 Falls of Neuse Rd Suite # 105, Raleigh, NC 27615
  • Mum’s Jamaican Restaurant: 3901 Capital Blvd #101, Raleigh, NC 27604
  • Swahili Grill East African Cuisine: 3721 Sumner Blvd, Raleigh, NC 27616
  • Grandma’s Diner: 11216 Capital Blvd #106, Wake Forest, NC 27587