“How the Gospel Compels Us to be Bold Advocates” will focus on exposing the influences of racism and white privilege and how these influences create injustices such as human trafficking, domestic violence, sex selection, and other violence against women and men. A focus of the workshop will be to reclaim the Gospel as the guide to bold advocacy.
The workshop will begin at 9 a.m. at St. Peter’s, located at 1545 E. Farm-to-Market Road 1961. It is sponsored by St. Peter’s unit of Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Workshop leaders will be Mikki Coles and Rachael Glasoe, co-trainers for Women of the ELCA’s “Today’s Dream, Tomorrow’s Reality” racial justice advocacy peer-education network.
“Today’s Dream, Tomorrow’s Reality” was created as a peer education network in which women came to be trained on issues of race, racism, power, oppression, and privilege so that they could go back and train on the material themselves.
Coles stated that there are two underlying assumptions for the program: 1) We were all born into a racist society without any of us giving our permission or consent. What this means is, that in this country racism is an inherited feature of our society and systems about which we had no part in creating or any choice about being born into. The work to understand how racism works and how we can combat and dismantle the workings of racism requires partnership. The gospel provides just such energy for commitment.
And 2) Anti-racism goes beyond developing sensitivity into developing an analysis of racism as it exists in our church and our society. In other words, anti-racism education is not so much a sharing of wounds and experiences, as it is a path of information leading to analysis which leads to the development of cogent strategies. To paraphrase, learning about racism is not an exercise in guilt; it is about gaining an understanding of how racism flourishes in systemic as opposed to interpersonal ways and it is a commitment to disrupt that system wherever we see it operating unjustly; and, further, it is going to take all of us working together, living out the gospel, to ultimately dismantle systemic racism.
“When we begin to understand racism as a systemic issue rather than an interpersonal issue, we can begin to analyze data and outcomes,” Coles said. “And when we begin to analyze outcomes, we begin to see that those outcomes are very different down racial lines, and that people of different racial make-ups can have vastly different experiences, even when given access to ‘equal’ services and opportunities.
“When we start to see that our reality is not universal reality – that there are people with whom we are connected in Christ that we are very disconnected from by means of how we interact with the systems around us – then we can begin an authentic conversation and true healing.”
Coles joined the racial justice advocacy training network in 2009 while serving on the board of Southwestern Texas Synodical Women’s Organization. She has collaborated on training material and has served as a speaker and workshop presenter on the topic of racial justice, most recently for the Conference of Presidents of Women of the ELCA.
Glasoe is the chief misdemeanor prosecutor for Caldwell County and is certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in juvenile law. She became involved with the racial justice advocacy network in January 2012 and attended the Women of the ELCA’s “Today’s Dream, Tomorrow’s Reality” racial justice advocacy training this past August.
Workshop registration is $11 postmarked by Feb. 12. A registration form is available at www.stpetersander.org or by calling 361-645-1653.