Conversations on Race: A Justice Initiative

America’s Racial Divide: How Did We Get Here And What Can The Church Do About It?

Wednesday, October 27, 6:30-8pm

“The majority of Americans say that race relations are bad. And yet we find race very difficult to talk about. We’re afraid of stepping on toes, of saying the wrong thing, of making a terrible mistake without realizing it. We assume things that we’re afraid to admit and we have questions that we’re afraid to ask. What if she thinks I’m a racist? What if he thinks I’m too liberal or too conservative? And so, we dance around this elephant in our friendships and we never “go there.” No one wants to talk about it all of the time, but healing will never come if we fail to talk about it some of the time.

I’m hoping to have a conversation. I’m sharing some thoughts for reflection, consideration, and dialogue. I ask for only one thing: respect. Now, let’s chat!”

~Nicole Doyley

Shane Wiegand

Shane Wiegand is a fourth-grade teacher in the Rush-Henrietta School District and co-leads the Antiracist Curriculum Project hosted by the PathStone Foundation. He has researched, compiled, and taught Rochester’s history of structural racism and resistance in his classroom for the past eight years. Starting with several fourth-grade teachers in his school district, Shane has now trained over 1,200 hundred teachers in anti-racist curriculum across half of Monroe County’s school districts. He has also given a version of this presentation hundreds of times to over 10,000 people throughout Monroe County. Shane is a board member of Connected Communities and City Roots Community Land Trust. He is an adjunct faculty instructor in the URMC Department of Neurology. He and his wife live in the Beechwood neighborhood of Rochester.

Racist Policy and Resistance in Rochester

Wednesday, November 3, 6:30-8pm

This presentation examines how federal and local policies like redlining, racially restrictive covenants, and urban renewal segregated Rochester, built wealth for its white citizens and disenfranchised people of color. It explores how local civil rights leaders like Rev. Quintin Primo, Rev. Charles Boddie, Constance Mitchell, Dr. Alice Young and many others responded. It connects these past policies to the disparity and inequality we see in Rochester today and invites us to learn from and apply the activism of Rochester’s past to its present. The talk explores the role of faith in Rochester’s civil rights movement.

“According to Isaiah 58, true practice of religion ought to result in concrete change, the breaking of yokes. He does not mean the occasional private act of liberation, but “to break the chains of injustice.” What could this mean other than a transformation of the structures of societies that trap people in hopelessness? Jesus has in mind the creation of a different type of world.”

Esau McCaulley, Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope