Every Monday in February, an email will go out to the congregation with resources and links to a particular category/theme related to Racial Justice.

We present this month of challenges as only one of many steps on a long journey to raise our own Awareness, build Relationships and grow in our Commitment as a Church to dismantling the sin of racism and hastening the day when justice will truly be equal for everyone.

We hope you will interact with the resources presented each day, or as your schedule allows.

Monday, February 8, 2021
Poetry, Prose, and Essays
Amanda Gorman, age 22, wowed and inspired the millions of Americans who tuned in Presidential Joe Biden’s Inauguration on January 20 of this year with the passionate delivery of her poem, “The Hill We Climb.” Click here for a list of links about Ms. Gorman, about her life thus far, her ambitious plans, other examples of her work, what is next in store for her, as well as both a text and video version of her at the Inauguration. It was quite a special moment in history, and she is suddenly in the limelight as a beacon of hope for our future.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 
History We Didn't Learn in School
Reparations are restitution payments for slavery that are paid to the descendants of enslaved people. In theory, American slavery reparations would be paid by those entities that participated in slavery and benefitted most from the institution. Those include federal and state governments, corporations, and academic institutions. These payments would be intended to compensate Black Americans for the lost wages and suffering of their ancestors, American slave laborers.

The history is complicated, but the overall principle is simple: Slavery helped the United States become a formidable economic power. However, it had the opposite effect on enslaved people and their descendants, stripping them of wages, property, civil rights, and freedom. Since the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified in 1865, ending legal slavery in the U.S., no sustained attempt has been made to correct this disparity, adding further weight to the strong case that reparations would still be beneficial today.

Please click here to learn more about the reparation program.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Family, Kids, and Youth
Reading for Racial Justice – Focus on Fiction with non-white protagonists.
“Being intentional about the books we choose to read with our children can help them identify with all kinds of people and help counteract the damaging message that whiteness is normative.” - Lindley Traynor, Director of Children and Family Ministry.

Click here to read Lindley’s message about the importance of reading with and for our children and how to develop our home libraries with a focus on diversity.

Click here for this week’s recommended titles. All choices center on Black characters and almost all are the work of Black authors and illustrators.  

Youth bring a powerful voice to Racial Justice activism.  
Click below for a weekly link to an article about teens working for racial justice. 
These stories will also be shared by Youth Director, Scott McElhenie, at the Tower youth gatherings this month. Please click this link to access the article.

Thursday, February 11, 2021
Today's Leading African American Voices
Robin Rue Simmons is the alderman of Evanston’s 5th Ward, a civic entrepreneur, and the chief architect behind our neighboring suburb’s reparations program which was approved in November 2019. The fund will help Black residents with homeownership, mortgage assistance, and home improvement funds. The program is to be paid for with a 3% tax on recreational marijuana sales, up to $10 million. With the adoption of this initiative, Evanston became the first municipality in the United States to commit public dollars to reparations for its Black citizens. Please click this link to learn more about the work Robin Rue Simmons has done for African Americans in Evanston.

Friday, February 12, 2021
Recent Accounts of Racial Inequities
The “War on Drugs” initiated during the Nixon era and expanded by subsequent administrations resulted in a dramatic growth in incarceration. This led to the United States currently having the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Sentencing policies, implicit racial bias, and socio-economic inequity contribute to racial disparities at every level of the criminal justice system. People with arrest and conviction records are routinely blocked from getting jobs, housing, and educational opportunities by federal, state, and local statutes. In addition, felony convictions commonly result in the permanent loss of an individual’s voting rights in 48 states. Please this link to learn more about the inequity that contributes to racial disparities.

Saturday, February 13, 2021
Call to Action
Attend virtual worship at a Black church in our community and compare the experience with that of worshipping at FPCW. Talk about what is the same and what is different between the two services. What did you like about “Black church?” What (if anything) made you feel uncomfortable? What did you find most different from your own worship experience at FPCW?
Please click here to learn more about the local Black churches in nearby communities.

Sunday, February 14, 2021
Grounded in The Word
The Presbyterian Church (USA) has been actively engaged in promoting honest reflection and study to understand its own complicity in structural racism and how to walk faithfully and collectively on the long path to a church and world that is truly grounded in the scriptural call for equity, peace, and justice. Read about a recently created Bible Study to help individuals and groups in congregations on this journey – article posted September 4, 2020, on the Presbyterian Mission Agency webpage, “New Matthew 25 Bible Study explores the intersectionality of vital congregations and racism.”
Please click this link to read the full article.