Racial Justice

Racial Justice Team

The Racial Justice Team is a group of church members committed to anti-racism work in our community.

The RJT was commissioned to listen to and strengthen congregational relationships and partnerships with BIPOC leaders, congregations, and organizations; to advocate for anti-racist policies and practices; to invite and encourage the congregation into deeper learning and reparative practices of worship and daily living, and to lead our congregation in taking tangible action steps on behalf of racial justice and equity.

Martha Sloan and Tracey Gruver are the co-chairs.

Learn More

Contact David Germer at dgermer@fpcasheville.org with questions or to learn more.

  • Action items:

Books to Read
  • White Fragility Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism By Robin Diangelo

    Diangelo brings language to the emotional structures that make true discussions about racial attitudes difficult.

  • White Too Long By Robert P. Jones

    Jones explains the legacy of white supremacy in American Christianity.

  • Caste The Origins of Our Discontents By Isabel Wilkerson

    Wilkerson gives an immersive account, with stories about real people, of how America through history has been shaped by a rigid caste system…a hierarchy of human rankings.

  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson 
    “An unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.” Quote from Amazon

  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi 
    “The National Book Award-winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society.” Quote from Amazon

  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You: A Remix of Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X.
    Kendi and Jason Reynolds  This reimagining of Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America and inspires hope for an anti-racist future. Shorter and easier to grasp than Kendi’s original book.

  • The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby 
    An “enlightening and compelling” history, the book is “equal parts painful and inspirational.”  It details “how the American church has helped create and maintain racist ideas and practices.”  It guides readers “ in thinking through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church.”  Quotes from Amazon.

  • The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
    The author “gathers meticulous research showing how government at all levels long employed racially discriminatory policies to deny blacks the opportunity to live in neighborhoods with jobs, good schools, and upward mobility.” Quote from the Washington Post

  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander
    This 2010 book is aimed at the specific audience of “people who care deeply about racial justice but who…do not yet appreciate the magnitude of the crisis faced by communities of color as a result of mass incarceration,” according to the author in a new preface to her book.

  • The Sum of Us: What White Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee 
    McGhee offers “a powerful exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn: Racism has a cost for everyone—not just for people of color.” Quote from the New York Times.

Videos to Watch
  • This Divided Land – YouTube
    This video from Habitat for Humanity – Asheville is an eye-opener and gives some history of racial inequality and housing.

Racial Justice Book Club

FPCA has a monthly book club that reads books and discusses them with an eye towards awareness of racism and racial reconciliation. Please contact us if you would like more information on this group! For a list of current books, please click here.

Racial Justice Webinars and Classes

  • Webinar 1 – January, 2022 – “The Doctrine of Discovery” refers to the mid-15th century action of Pope Nicholas V, who blessed enslaving Africans in perpetuity at the request of Portuguese and Spanish leaders to further exploration and colonization of the “New World.” European colonization of the Americas coincided with the emergence of the idea of capitalism. Enslaving Africans allowed white Europeans to capitalize on the wealth that came to Europe and soon Britain.
  • Webinar 2 – February, 2022 – Rev. Dr. Erskine Clarke, a church historian who served on the faculty at Columbia Seminary, reviews ways slavery shaped the life of the early colonies with wealth that extended into New England and the mid-Atlantic as well as the South. Unfortunately, the zoom function failed that evening, but notes summarizing his comments are provided here.
  • Webinar 3 – March, 2022 – “Asset Mapping” – This webinar is led by two of the leadership team for BELOVED: the Rev. Amy Cantrell and Carmen Ramos-Kennedy. Asset mapping helps each of us and our congregation review the needs of our community to identify aspects of our lives and relationships (potential assets) that may open doors for increasing equity for those marginalized by racism. Racial Equity seeks to ensure fairness and justice in outcomes for those who are marginalized by the practice of racism.
  • Webinar 4 – April, 2022 – Nancy Ramsay helps us weave together the previous webinars to address more directly the importance of defining “racism as a system of advantage based on race.” We explore the strategy of “intersectionality” conceptualized by Black women in the USA beginning at the end of the 19th century and turn of the 20th century and formalized mid-20th century when it was also quickly embraced by Latinas and Indigenous persons in North and South America. We briefly explore how this concept foregrounds structural inequalities in various aspects of life such as housing, education, and employment and provides strategies for restoring equity.
  • REI Groundwater Training

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