Over the weekend (and this coming weekend) our Minnesota Conference youth are being led through difficult and timely discussions on racial justice by two skilled facilitators from the Connecticut Conference UCC, Emily McKenna and Isaac Monts. Our youth and leaders are being led through discussions of racial justice, Black Lives Matter, and micro-aggressions — along with ways to take care of one’s emotional health throughout these intense interactions in our group and society.
In the natural beauty of Pilgrim Point, we’re learning that racism is a combination of racial prejudice plus power. That it’s the intentional (or unintentional) use of power to isolate, separate and exploit others. We’re discovering and learning about the four realms of racism: Personal, Interpersonal, Institutional, and Cultural. For change to be lasting, we must encompass all four of these realms. In other words, healing just one or two of these realms isn’t enough to create the racial justice that God is calling for us to co-create in our world.
We’re delving into the deep meaning and hurtfulness of micro-aggressions; the brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults toward people of color. We also found out that micro-aggressions affect all minority communities, not just along racial lines.
Since a vast majority of our MN Conference members are white, we began understanding how white privilege can be our subconscious underpinning to these forms of injustice. Easy to hear? No. Easy to say? No. Necessary in our world today? Definitely! Was it heard by our youth and leaders? You Betcha!
I’m proud of how our Middle School and High School students have picked up the gauntlet for creating racial justice in our world. They are leaving the CYE with a firm dedication to BE a healing force within our various communities of faith and our world. They are to be honored and congratulated for their bravery and their new-found ministries.
See more photos from the weekend on the Pilgrim Point Camp Facebook Page.
Rev. Garth Schumacher
Interim Associate Conference Minister of Faith Formation