The European American Lutheran Association held its very first Biennial Gathering in Milwaukee, WI on October 28-30, 2010.  Like the other 5 ethnic associations who are part of  Multicultural Ministries in the ELCA, the EALA held its biennial gathering to deepen member relationships, learn more about the association’s purposes plus ways to express them, and have a required business meeting.

This took place on a beautiful weekend in Milwaukee.  Approximately 40 folks from across the country attended.

Keynote speaker and workshop leader was  Dr. Allan Johnson, author of  Privilege, Power, Difference. Dr. Johnson spoke to us on Thursday evening about manifestations of white privilege and led a workshop on Friday morning about concerns and risks connected with oppression and privilege.

The rest of the gathering included an update on the restructuring of the ELCA Churchwide Office including the  place of Multicultural Ministries Unit by Rev. Sherman Hicks and workshops covering  Immigration, Race in the News, Sharing Best Practices, Why Aren’t We Talking and a movie “Mirrors of Privilege.”

On our final day, the EALA held a business meeting and elected 7 new board members (Each biennium EALA elects half of the board for 4 year terms).  With the EALA being only two years old, we had to say good-bye with huge thank you’s to 7 amazing folks.  Without their leadership and commitment to the purpose and work of the EALA, this association would not have accomplished much these initial two years.  Our warmest regards and gratitude to Rev. Lyle Kleman-Vice-President, Kathy Smith – Treasurer, Bruce Brenn, David Reed, Paul Lewellen, Sue Lyback and David Reed.  The newly elected board members and officers were Rev. Andrew Tengwell, Kalamazoo, MI (vice-president), Rev. Russell Meyer, Tampa, FL,  Matthew Smith, Columbia, SC, Rosemarie Doucette, Philadelphia, PA, and Rev. Peter Krey. Berkeley, CA.   Rev. Wayne Shelksohn, Peoria, IL was elected to be the new treasurer. (Reported by Kathy Long)

Speak Out on Rewriting History

On May 21st the Texas State Board of Education adopted a new history and social studies curriculum that amends or waters down the teaching of the civil rights movement and other historical events. Included in the revisions, the slave trade would be renamed the “Atlantic triangular trade.”

Another example of the Board’s actions is that President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis’s inaugural address will now be studied alongside Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural.

As part of the study of Title IX, affirmative action, and the Great Society, students would be required to learn about the “unintended consequences.”

This revisionist history is even more disturbing because of the implications in the textbook publishing business.  Texas is one of the largest markets for textbooks in the nation.  It is one of twenty states that adopt statewide textbooks standards.  With 4.7 million students, Texas carries a lot of clout.  Additionally, because of the volume, unit costs are lower, making the books popular in the nationwide market.

As advocates for an end to racial injustice, we should not be silent on this issue.  If you would like to weigh in on the actions of the Texas State Board of Education, contact Paul Lewellan at  Comments will be collected for the next EALA newsletter and/or posted on the EALA website.


New information has appeared on Post-Katrina events.

In an article entitled “Rumor to Fact in Tales of Post-Katrina Violence” criminologist John Penny said, “The environment that was produced by the storm brought out what was dormant in people here — the anger and the contempt they felt against African-Americans in the community.  We might not ever know how many people were shot, killed, or whose bodies will never be found.”

(Trymaine Lee, New York Times, August 26, 2010)

In response to the “ongoing battle with race, Change.Org has launched a new website Follow the link to see the latest events related to issues of race in America.



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