Mission to Amplify Compassion by amplifying marginalized voices in our community, including those marginalized by their race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, or any others searching for equity. We will help challenge our congregation to amplify justice, mercy, and humility to create a more compassionate church.

Field Trip Success
Thank you to all who joined us for our Trip to the Levine Museum of the New South! Check out the reflection below from Kelly Hofstatter to hear more about this experience.

New Opportunity
Sign up to join Dilworth as we participate in the Racial Healing and Reconciliation Learning Cohort through the WNCC Equity and Justice Ministries. This group will learn alongside of eight other congregations in an attempt to grow as allies and advocates for equity and justice. Below is the proposed meeting schedule, all sessions will be conducted over Zoom and will be recorded). Please reach out to Pastor Cade (cade.barefoot@dilworthchurch.org) with questions and to sign up for this opportunity.
Session 1: Intro/Team Formation and Strategy (3 hours): Sunday, Oct. 10 from 2-5 pm
Session 2: Action Steps 1 & 2: Resist and Recognize (2 hours): Tues. Nov. 9 from 12-2 pm
Session 3: Action Steps 3: Repent (1.5 hours): Tues. Dec. 14 from 7-8:30 pm
Session 4: Action Steps 4: Repair (1.5 hours): Thurs. Jan. 20 from 7-8:30 pm
Session 5: Action Steps 5 & 6: Reconstruct and Restore (2 hours): Thurs. Feb. 17 from 12-2 pm
Session 6: Community Partnerships and Sustainability (3 hours): Sat. Mar. 19 from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm.

Reflection – Kelly Hofstatter

I think we can all identify with the old adage, "You get what you pay for." That axiom struck a chord with me when our Amplify group recently visited the Levine Museum of the New South. This museum allows us to view our past so that we better understand where we are today.

One of the museum display placards shared information about NC school spending per pupil in the 1930s. The average across the south for white students was $38.00 while just $6.00 for black students. Another insult was that African American teachers were paid $20 less per month than their white counterparts, regardless of education or experience. School conditions were so poor that white northern philanthropists and other black leaders began to send aid to southern schools.

Given this data you obviously come to the conclusion that the black population received an inferior education. How can you adequately educate students when you aren't willing to invest in them, their resources, or their educators? Clearly, a subpar education not only had an impact on the student's capability to master core fundamentals but rendered long term effects with life-long consequences. It likely limited their ability to gain a college education, secure a "white collar" job, or advance to managerial roles, etc.? Thus, eliminating the opportunity to buy a home and accumulate wealth that could be passed down to heirs.  

After these blatant discriminatory tactics that went on for decades, our southern education system began to improve in the 1950's with a Supreme Court decision that ruled against segregation. Still, in Charlotte, in 1960, only three black students had been admitted into white schools. So, it wasn't until 1964 that the Civil Rights Act strengthened by another Supreme Court school decision gave federal and local governments the legal teeth to implement desegregation. In 1971, the Supreme Court decision in Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) allowed school districts to use busing to implement desegregation and speed up the racial integration of our institutions. Under Swann, conditions for education improved and our school system became a model for desegregation around the country. From roughly 1974 to 1992, the majority of students in CMS attended racially desegregated schools. However, in the early 1990's the mandatory plan was replaced with other desegregation strategies, like magnet schools. Finally in 1999, schools were released from the Swann integration mandate and returned to a neighborhood pupil assignment plan resulting in the segregated schools that we have today. 

Unfortunately, we see far too many schools in CMS that are not racially diverse and are high poverty. Communities surrounding the schools do not have the capability to offer strong support and volunteer resources are few. Attracting great teachers to these schools can be challenging and specialty school staff may not be available.    
I struggle with our southern school history and how we got to where we are today with an unequal education system. I reject that all have the ability to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps," when we have failed time and again to provide the very mechanism to achieve this self-sufficiency. My heart aches at these tales of inequality and unfairness. But I don't want it to end with despair, there are actions for me to take.
I truly believe a solid education is the great equalizer. It allows each of us to take pride in our ability to learn and understand the world so that we can contribute to the good of society. Education gives us the ability to reason so that we can meet challenges with words instead of confrontations and violence. Education not only allows us to have a dream but gives us the confidence to believe in ourselves so that we can achieve goals that propel us to that dream.  

We may not be able to easily overhaul our education system here in Charlotte, so that every student has equal access to great teachers, tech, extra-curricular activities, etc. But there is a way we can make a difference.  
You likely know we partner with Reid Park Academy in tutoring students, providing uniforms and supporting their staff. Our tutoring focuses on struggling young readers in first and second grade. This past year, my student was having difficulty sounding out words. By the end of the year, she was able to read simple books. She was ecstatic and it gave her the confidence to tackle more challenging books. It was a wonderful experience for us both.

I invite you to join in making a difference in our education system one student at a time. Please consider tutoring at Reid Park Academy.
Suggested Resources

Share – Are you interested in sharing a reflection in the Amplify newsletter? If you feel called to share a story, testimony, or devotion related to diversity, inclusion, and reconciliation, please reach out to Pastor Cade (cade.barefoot@dilworthchurch.org). The Amplify Team is open to all members who feel passionate about shaping our conversation and working for justice in and through Dilworth UMC. Please contact Pastor Cade to become a part of this important ministry.
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