by Johari DeWitt-Rogers
[Racial Justice Ministry member and a primary author of the Racial Justice Resolution]
I guess you could say that fighting for racial justice is in my DNA. I was born and raised in Alabama and my father was very involved in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. In fact, he was a colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Even as a child, I understood that problems of racism and bigotry do not just solve themselves, people have to act.
I have dedicated my life to racial justice and I have been a member of the Racial Justice Ministry since I joined All Saints in 2013. However, in the spring of 2015, I was inspired to engage in this work at All Saints on a completely different level. During the 2015 Lenten season, a group was formed around the book, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. As we read the book, we were horrified by the impact of racism on our judicial system and how this affects the lives of so many men, women, and even youth of color. We realized that we had to do something. The seed to create a Racial Justice Resolution was planted in this small book group.
Inspired by the work of Bryan Stevenson, I decided to take on the challenge to create a Racial Justice Resolution for All Saints. I stayed up all night writing that first draft. I then worked with other Racial Justice Ministry members and All Saints clergy and staff to refine it. A few months and drafts later, the resolution was passed by our Vestry on April 12th of this year. [Read the resolution here.]
Now the real work begins as we come together as a parish to breathe life into the resolution. Our next step is to form a Racial Justice Advisory Council. We are encouraged as we join with the Reverend Mike Kinman on this journey, and we invite all who feel called to do this work to accompany us.
This week our Featured Ministry is our Racial Justice Ministry (COLORS). Visit their table on the lawn on Sunday or their webpage for more information about their important work as they live out their mission:
“The mission of the Racial Justice Ministry is to challenge bias and racism in ourselves and in our communities, both locally and nationally. We use our faith and spiritual development as a catalyst to overcome the culture of privilege and power. We intentionally embrace, model, and create opportunities for radical inclusivity and social justice in order to increase awareness, understanding, appreciation, and celebration of our diverse society in ways committed to the elimination of all forms of oppression and for the realization of God’s love for us all.”