By Shane Whisler
Some symptoms of racism might be obliterated with a wrecking ball approach, but a new Presbyterian network aims to help
the structure and proactively remember grim events of the past, including the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.
“If the hope and goal is for everyone to be equal, then the hard work that we are doing will be undoing, dismantling, that structure and building anew,” said Rev. Jennifer Hardin, 31, associate pastor in Stillwater, Okla., a member of the network in the Synod of the Sun she helped name.
Activity in the Synod’s Network for Dismantling Racism has accelerated since its formation in January. Members have built a list of 10 goals with a mission to heed “God’s ongoing call to love and justice… to (see) the atrocities of system racial injustice” and to “equip and engage for transformation throughout society.”
Valerie Young, Synod Leader and Stated Clerk, lived in the Tulsa area several years ago, but had never heard of the Race Massacre. She learned about it during a conversation with Rev. Jerrod Lowry, an African American pastor who is now the general presbyter for the Coastal Carolina Presbytery, and learned more on a synod leader's trip to Montgomery, Ala.
“We don’t want confrontation,” Young said. “We want to be gently prodded. That is what has been ingrained in us – it’s part of white privilege. Now it’s time for white people to get uncomfortable.”