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.
Reflection – by Rev. Taylor Pryde Barefoot
For most of my life, anti-racism work felt like everything I would lose. Letting go of Whiteness means letting go of scholarships, job opportunities, “safe” neighborhoods, “good” schools, and a million other ways that I profit daily from living in a White world. I thought my journey as an anti-racist would be a journey of loss and deprivation.
In reality, my relationship to Whiteness was a toxic and expired love affair. It often felt good, it felt safe, and I couldn’t imagine the world without it. Although it is a real feeling, we all know that the fear of leaving a bad thing is not a good reason to stay. My fear of breaking things off with racism had prevented me from realizing that I had something new to fall in love with - a life of anti-racism.
I am lucky because I was forced to break up with racism. In the summer of 2017, I was assigned to a church in Indianapolis, Indiana. A Black woman opened her home and her family to me for 10 weeks.
Prior to this summer, my entire world had been white. I went to an affluent white high school and a white Catholic college. I had grown up being told that the Black neighborhoods of Flint and Detroit were dangerous and bad. When I drove up to this neighborhood in Indianapolis, I had 24 years of narratives telling me to be afraid.
Part of my job at this church was working with young people in the neighborhood. They said there would be some behavioral issues. I thought ‘no big deal, I’ve camp counseled, I can handle it’. They could tell I didn’t get it. ‘No, like last year we got shot at.’
In that moment, I wanted to run. I wanted to stand up, get back in my car, and drive straight back to my white suburban home with my white family far away from this place.
I remember the Holy Spirit putting hands on my shoulders and holding me in place. And I prayed one of the most fervent prayers of my life: “Lord, give me the strength to say, ‘Here I am.’” And I stayed. And I prayed.
Every day I was scared walking through the neighborhood, but I talked to my neighbors and learned their names. My fear didn’t go away right away and it still haunts me every now and again. But I slowly let go of my reliance on Whiteness. I embraced a new way of living. An anti-racist way of life.
Good and beautiful things came from this. I did not lose everything as I had thought but gained relationships, new knowledge, and a world that is so much more beautiful than the one I had previously known. Racism had left me unable to actually see my neighbors.
Racism only allowed me to see the folks living around me as poor, needy, or dangerous. I was missing the fact that I was surrounded by teachers, friends, mentors, gardeners, inventors, entrepreneurs, caretakers, and spiritual advisors.
Anti-racism made my life abundant. It allowed me to see the beauty and possibility of a world in which Blackness can be celebrated, rather than feared. The belief that anti-racism means letting go is another lie that Whiteness was telling me. Anti-Racism is about accepting something new. Something new that is beautiful, abundant, and God-filled.
Sign up to receive the weekly Amplify newsletter directly to your email. Reach out to Aisha Newton to get on the listing.
Join A Tu Lado - a ministry opportunity through the Migrant Assistance Project in which houses of faith partner with an immigrant family and walk with them on their journey through the immigration process in the U.S. If you are interested in joining an A Tu Lado team at Dilworth UMC please reach out to Pastor Cade for more information.
Watch: From Here to Equality
. Regulator Bookshop
Listen: Code Switch: Anger: The Black Woman’s ‘Superpower’
Families: The Racism Talk Checklist
. Hurdles in Heels.
Join the Amplify Book Club as we read and discuss "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" by Isabel Wilkerson. If you are interested in participating in this opportunity, click here to purchase a copy of the book, and please reach out to Pastor Cade to express interest.
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. 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.