Task force making progress toward antiracism roadmap
General Synod-goers received an update Monday, July 3 on the progress of the United Churh of Christ’s Racial Equity Task Force — an initiative that was launched after the last Synod.
In 2021, Synod approved a resolution that declared that racism was a “public health crisis,” based on the racial disparities that came to light during the pandemic.
In a video, task force chair Yvette Wynn and Associate General Minister, the Rev. Traci Blackmon, described what had been accomplished since then. In an “ongoing acknowledgement of the history of racism in the Church and its injurious impact on the Church,” Wynn said the UCC Board, with the help of the Council of Conference Ministers, created the task force and solicited a diverse group of members. From hundreds of applicants, 14 persons were chosen.
Because of the UCC’s congregational polity and a commitment to “teaching by example,” Wynn said the task force was asked to start by examining the UCC Board and the National Setting — “two of the most racially diverse expressions of the church” — for any remaining vestiges of racial discrimination in their policies and practices.
She added that “it is our hope that our transparency will positively impact” the wider denomination and “offer a roadmap and points of entry” for Conferences and congregations that are also engaged in antiracism work.
Strategic plan developed
The task force hired Culture Brokers, a minority-owned consulting firm with expertise in this area. It worked with the UCC’s Center for Analytics, Research & Development and Data to gather information through focus groups and a customized racial audit survey distributed to 800 UCC members.
The results were reviewed and evaluated by Culture Brokers and shared with the task force to identify areas of strength and weakness, challenges and opportunities within the National Setting.
The task force then worked to develop an equity strategic action plan, identifying steps that would have the greatest impact over the next 12 to 18 months and assigning implementation dates. The UCC Board has approved the draft plan, and the document will be available when it is finalized.
The work is never done
A second phase of the project will center on what Blackmon called “building collaborative hubs throughout the denomination” to share the task force’s work more widely. Wynn said she and Blackmon believe that racial equity work is important because it is “rooted in how Christ calls each of us to see the Christ in each of us.” Throughout the denomination’s history, Wynn said, the church has been “just as concerned about the internal relationships that define us as we have been about the external relationships in the world.”
“The work toward a just world for all is never done,” Blackmon concluded, “but it remains possible if we work together toward that vision.”
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