Recently, I attended the play To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time. I had no idea what was to come. Watching the stage come alive, I quickly learned the subject matter: race, racism, and the trial of a Black man in the south.
Hearing the first “N” word, I shook in my seat. The same thing happened at the second and the next and the next. Then the character Bob Ewell began to denigrate Black people in such a way that I couldn’t breathe. The Black man was almost lynched by the KKK, which included the local law enforcement officer, reminding me of today’s modern lynchings. I watched a Black man on trial for a crime I assume he didn’t commit. As I left at intermission, I knew how it would end.
As I walked from my seat, in the predominately White gathering, to the back door during intermission, it felt like every eye was on me. I am thinking, they are feeling guilty, angry, and wanting to say something. I imagined it was, “I am sorry for what Black people have experienced at the hands of White people.” In that moment, I couldn’t hear them or feel their pain on top of the trauma I had experienced in what I had seen and heard.
This experience made clear the request of our Clergy of Color for us to provide a separate Racial Justice Training to meet the learning requirement. Hearing the fodder or illustrations of racism with our White siblings, causes additional trauma. We must take care to do no harm as we work together as a Conference and as a denomination in this fight for racial justice.
We have scheduled the same Racial Justice Training for three Thursdays on March 2nd, 9th, and 16th 2023 from 6:00pm-8:00pm. Registration is here. This training will be open for Clergy of Color only. We thank you for your solidarity as we struggle for racial justice.
Rev. Dr. Celestine Fields
Co-Facilitator of NCNCUCC
Racial Justice Training