“What Can I Do?”
By Frank Samuelson
When our congregation’s Social Ministry Committee asked this question of our Racial Justice/Multicultural team, the team came up with a variety of answers.
Here are a few:
1. Don’t lend your smile, or let your silence, encourage those who think racist remarks are acceptable humor.
Why? God loves all people and calls us to respect, not hurt, one another in word and deed. We can discourage racist “humor” by denying its desired effect.
2. Read the book “Sundown Towns” by James Loewen which is available from or through your local library.
Why? We all need to know more about the history of race relations in America, how they have changed, and also persist, in our society today.
3. Ask a person of color who you know to take you to a worship service or other gathering of his or her ethnic group.
Why? We need to open ourselves to people from other cultures as their guest.
4. Become familiar with the immigration issues in your community. (Talk with an ESL teacher or a pastor who serves immigrants, etc.)
Why? Most of us don’t know what it’s like to be an immigrant, but as Christians we are called to welcome the strangers among us.
5. When you encounter a person of color in the mall, the grocery store, at a meeting, etc. acknowledge him or her with a smile and/or a bit of small talk.
Why? Often Blacks, Hispanics, etc. feel ignored or shunned by members of the white majority. A simple smile or greeting can say “I accept and respect you as a fellow human being.”