Antiracism Team Update

The Antiracism Team has met twice since the Annual Meeting last month to discern best ways for us to work together on behalf of the Conference. We currently have five members: Gary Kwong (New Brighton UCC/Union UCC in Hackensack), Steve Pavich (Mendota Heights UCC), Khalid Moussa Foster (New Brighton UCC), Kim Graff (Community UCC in St. Paul Park), and myself (soon to be at Edina Morningside Community Church). Associate Conference Minister Steve Boorsma also joins our meetings as a staff liaison when possible. We recognize that our work relies on a far greater circle of partners and allies in this work throughout the MN Conference, and that’s where you come in!

In upcoming months, I anticipate sending occasional emails sharing requests for action that would help our Team’s work, highlighting helpful resources, and sharing info about antiracism activities throughout the state. We individually know about great resources, events and needs, so this may be one way to share with each other and build broader awareness of efforts throughout the Conference. You are likely on many email lists, so to avoid duplication I’ll prioritize news about faith-based activities and needs here in Minnesota. If you’d like to add your name to the list for future emails, please email me your name and congregation (preferably). In the meantime, here are several requests you might consider acting on, and an upcoming event we hope you’ll consider attending.

Action Items:

  • Responding to requests throughout the Conference for resources to aid antiracism efforts in faith communities, the Team is developing a list of resources to be posted on the Conference website and updated regularly. Our goal is to have those available by this fall. Will you help us by submitting resources you recommend, through this form?​​
  • We’ve received an invitation from MARCH, a “newly-emerging rapid response network of people of faith in the Twin Cities”, for folks to add our names to a text/email list. “The idea for this list is that religious leaders and people of faith who are interested in being mobilized for action in support of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis and other racial justice work will be connected through a list-serve (and possibly text messaging if we can develop that capacity). Actions are sent out and members of the network are asked to participate as they are able and led.” If you’d like to be added to the list, please email Arif Mamdani at the Kaleo Center, an initiative of United Theological Seminary.
  • We are looking to increase the Antiracism Team’s official membership by 1-2 people in order to achieve broader representation of the entire Conference. We are particularly looking for people of color, women/gender-nonconforming folks, and/or folks in greater Minnesota. Most important, of course, is that potential Team members have the time and passion for this ministry of the Conference. We’ll do great work with our current Team and you as partners, but we’ll do even better work as we continue to reflect the diverse voices of God’s people in Minnesota. Might you be able to recommend someone interested in this work who would help increase our breadth of experience on the Team?Please reply to this email with contact information if you’d like to nominate someone (including yourself). Even if we’re not able to bring someone on to an official role, you will be helping us expand this network of partners and allies–thank you!

Upcoming Events:

New! Overcoming Racism Conference: October 28-29 (Metropolitan State University, St. Paul)

This is an annual event started some years ago with the leadership of Cherokee Park United Church in Saint Paul. It now gathers hundreds of Minnesota and national folks acting to dismantle racism.

Know of another Minnesota antiracism event of interest to people of faith? Please share it with us!

Thanks so much for your partnership in the antiracism efforts of the MN Conference! Please let me know what else would be most beneficial to your congregation or small group.

With gratitude,

Oby Ballinger, Chair