June & July 2020

Becoming an



Exploration discussions on Wednesdays @ 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. The listed resources will serve as a jumping off point for each discussion:


Below you will find a variety of resources to help you learn about and think more deeply about what it means to be anti-racist. The resources focus predominantly on issues of anti-black racism, with an acknowledgment that racism is broader than that and this work must be intersectional. The intent is not that you will read and engage with all of the items, but that you will choose a few that seem most interesting to you. Items with an asterisk* have been particularly selected with children and/or their parents in mind.

Items are listed in four categories:

  • Head: Readings and videos to help us learn about the topic
  • Hands: Activities to engage with the topic
  • Heart: Opportunities to reach out to others–within the church and beyond
  • Spirit: Spiritual practices to help you connect more deeply with God

Please feel free to share your reflections and additional resources in the comments below. If you have any of the recommended books that you would be willing to loan out, please note that as well.


things to think about

Did you know that undoing racism is one of seven priorities outlined in Mennonite Church USA’s purposeful plan? MC USA recently released a statement on racial injustice, and our executive director writes about how “we need to engage in more costly peacemaking.”

Jesus Wasn’t White“–a 4-minute video from the Peace and Justice Support Network.

*Podcast: “Talking Race with Young Children” from NPR

Here are “4 Things we Should all Teach Kids About Racism Right Now.” I didn’t put an asterisk here because these are things many white adults don’t understand either. Plus Mia McKenzie’s blog is worth a look around.

Seeing White“–a podcast series on the history of race in America.

Some thoughts about “The four conversations white Christians have been having for five centuries–and how to redeem them.

(discussion-starter for July 29)

*Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson, a children’s book about the Civil Rights movement children’s march. (There are many other good books on this YouTube channel as well.)

There is No Neutral: ‘Nice White People’ Can Still be Complicit in a Racist Society”–an interview with Robin DiAngelo.

In these brief videos, people talk about “The First Time I Realized I was Black.”

The Iceberg of Racism” a 2-minute video from Roots of Justice, a Mennonite-affiliated anti-racism organization.

An article about “The Assumptions of White Privilege and What we Can Do About It” by Bryan N. Massingale

(discussion-starter for July 15)

This newsletter from Christena Cleveland can help us check our privilege.

The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nahisi Coates

Also, “The Christian Case for Reparations” by Kelly Brown Douglas

NPR podcast “A decade of watching black people die.” (22 minutes)

Resources related to Black mental health

Recommended Books:

Trouble I’ve Seen by Drew Hart (Church library has a copy.)

How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation by Chanequa Walker-Barnes

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (Joanna has a copy)

Movie Night!

13th (on Netflix)

Just Mercy (streaming free in June)
60 Minutes segment on the case
TED Talk from Bryan Stevenson

Harriet (at Redbox)

Hidden Figures (rent on demand from Amazon or Redbox)

I Am Not Your Negro (on Amazon Prime video)

Accidental Courtesy (on Amazon Prime video)

A great list of even more anti-racist resources.

And another list of resources with suggestions specific to different places white people may be in their understanding of racism.

*And a list of anti-racism resources for families


ways to reach out

Pen Pal Prompt: How do you identify yourself racially? How do you think your (perceived) race affects your experiences in the world? What issues connected to racial injustice most concern you right now?

Share one of the resources you found meaningful from the “head” list on Facebook or by email. If possible, use this sharing to have a conversation with another white person about white privilege.

*Talk with a grandparent (or great grandparent!) about racial prejudice they witnessed growing up.

Check out the Lawrence branch of the NAACP on Facebook or their web site.

Support local businesses owned by people of color. You can find a partial list here.


things to do

All of our Justice Matters priorities are closely connected to issues of racial justice. If you missed it earlier, watch the Justice Matters solutions briefing. Or at least watch this 3-minute video about “Democracy and the Douglas County Jail.” If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to Pastor Joanna or our JM board member, Dave Mathis.

*Look through your crayons or markers and set aside all the different skin-tone colors. Draw a picture of people doing something fun together using all those different skin colors.

*Print and color this picture of Harriet Tubman.

Read this article about the 1882 lynching of three black men in Lawrence. Then visit the site of the old bridge mentioned in the article.

The next time you buy a gift for a child, choose a book with a non-white protagonist or a non-white doll or action figure.

Follow and support (with time and money) anti-racist organizations such as Southern Poverty Law CenterUnited Negro College FundBlack Youth Project 100, and Dream Defenders. This suggestion comes from Corrine Shutak’s list of “75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice” which includes links to many more organizations and more ideas about what to do.


ways to connect with God

You can view a worship service on “The Cross and the Lynching Tree: A Requiem for Ahmad Arbery

Pray through this list of people who have been killed by police in recent years. Pray for their friends and family, for their communities, and for meaningful reforms to policing in the United States.

Watch this (or another) sermon by Traci Blackmon.

Here is a Pentecost prayer to pray.


Sweet Honey in the Rock sing “We Who Believe in Freedom” (Ella’s Song)

Committed’s acapella version of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Lament“–a new song by Mark Miller and Adam Tice

*A children’s choir sings “Jesus Loves Me.” Clap along!

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