What is the ART Force?
The Anti-Racism Task Force is Duke Memorial's team appointed by Church Council in August 2020 to (1) identify ways in which DMUMC contributes to systems of racism and anti-racism, and (2) to share with Church Council ways we can become an anti-racist church. Our work has been evolving, and we have been meeting since August to explore terms and ideas. We are now at the stage to hear from church members, and we explain more about that in a later section.
Why do we need an an Anti-Racism Task Force?
Racism--a worldview that is established in our political, economic, cultural, and social systems, where one race is viewed as being more important than another--is a powerful and omnipresent oppressive force against Black People, Indigenous People, and People of Color. We acknowledge that racism is a system, meaning that the power that white people have collectively goes beyond the individual actor. We recognize that the contributors to racism come from many levels, and that to dismantle racism in our communities and at Duke Memorial, we must address all of these contributors appropriately who benefit from racism in the form of white privilege: us as individuals, the corporate institution of Duke Memorial, and the greater UMC.
We are doing the work of anti-racism because it is part of our Christian calling. We know from Luke 11:25-29, that we are to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And we know from Amos 5:24, that we are called to do justice: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” We believe the work of anti-racism is the work of love and justice.
Who else is doing this work?
We are not alone in doing this work. The United Methodist Church has undertaken the work of anti-racism for years through the General Commission on Religion and Race founded in 1968. The North Carolina Conference under the leadership of Bishop Ward has also been promoting anti-racism work. More recently in the wake of anti-Black violence and the Black Lives Matter response of 2020, Duke Memorial decided to seriously invest energy in our own anti-racism work, and creating this task force would build off the important and intense work of the Full Inclusion Task Force. Duke Memorial has assembled some content already and was put on the website over the summer.
How can you be a part of our Anti-Racism work?
In the months of April and May, the ART Force will host several Listening Sessions, where you can offer your thoughts about the work of anti-racism. The sessions will be about one-hour long, structured with questions and moderated so each person can respond. Your thoughts and ideas will help shape how we move forward to become an anti-racist church. Please contact Caleb Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to be a part of this. More details on the sessions will be shared in the coming weeks.
What we ask of you.
Grace. We ask grace for ourselves, and grace from each other to do this important and difficult work well. We will mess up on our path of good intentions, and we will learn from them to do better. We have found just how difficult and complex this work is, and know that to become an anti-racist church will require all of us working together with purpose and grace for our lifetime.
ART Force Members
Caleb Parker, Jack Carroll, Jennifer Shingleton, Kerry Averette, Craige Summers, Fuller Sasser, Haven Biddix, Ginny Ghezzo, and Angie Hong.
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