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 Pastor Cade

I am a graduate of Durham Public Schools. While I had a positive experience at my very integrated middle and high schools, looking back, I can see a discrepancy between the way white students like myself and our Black classmates were treated. I saw Black classmates of my mine tased by on-campus police officers and held by their collars, and thrown up against lockers. I can't imagine myself or other white students being treated that way. I saw my racially diverse high school effectively segregated within the classrooms. It seemed that white students had to prove that they did not belong in honors or advanced placement classes, while students of color had to go above and beyond to escape standard placement classes – decisions that affect one's weighted GPA and college admissions.

Furthermore, white parents whose children were districted for my middle or high school often found a way for their kids to attend a "good" school and chose magnet, charter, or private options or simply found a way to transfer to whiter public schools in a different part of the county. This white flight drained my schools of potential booster funding and the much-needed resources they could provide. Our school's track uniforms were so outdated and mismatched; I remember having to change shorts with a teammate in the middle of a meet to match for a relay team.

The school to prison pipeline is more than an abstract reality. In recent years, my high school built an enormous fence around the entire campus. Not only does the schoolyard now look like a prison yard, but the fence is designed to make sure that kids who show up late can only enter the building through the front office and receive disciplinary action for their tardiness. I am sure that the suspension and detention rates of white and Black students at my high school were nowhere close to proportional.

It's not that I didn't notice these patterns in high school, but I didn't question this reality or say anything to make a change. I just kept my head down, focused on doing an excellent job in school and in sports, and looked forward to going to college and the change of scenery.

Not anymore. My conscience won't let me forget what I have seen, and my calling as a Christian won't let me be silent. In our baptismal vows, we promise to resist the forces of "evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves." In other words, segregated schools and the school to prison pipeline aren't just your problem if you are Black or grow up in a certain zip code. As baptized followers of Jesus, they are our problems too.

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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.

Suggested Resources

North Carolina's School to Prison Pipeline by Southern Coalition for Social Justice

Join the Amplify Book Club. The next title we will be reading together is "Dear Church: A Love Letter From a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S." by Lenny Duncan. Click Here to purchase a copy of the book, and please reach out to Pastor Cade to express interest in being part of this study.

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.
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