New Racial Justice Team
Happy Juneteenth everybody! Hoping everybody is feeling inspired to keep our eyes on a just world and working toward that place where we can all love each other wholly and well.
I hope I have included everyone who has done the core CHIAA training, as well as the old pre-GHIAA racial justice group. Some of you also got a note through basecamp from Lynn a couple days ago. I wanted to check in with all of you, and welcome you to our new RJAT 2.0 group. Since the RJAT (Lynn, Rich, Ben, Liza, Miela, Jen, Ken, Jason, Krisitn) training is done, we felt it would be a good time to hopefully combine all of the racial justice groups into one active group. If you are not on the basecamp RJAT group now and want to be, let us know please! Also, this new group is open to all of RFC, so feel free to forward this to anyone that would be interested.
So here's what we've been up to: We are going to focus in three areas. These areas will function like subcommittees, basically, but all under the larger RJAT team. We plan to have meeting as a larger group, but be able to have smaller group meetings in each area so that we can get more done.
Church Equity and Accountability: This group will focus on RFC internally, making sure we are accountable to our mission as a church to be an anti-racist church and one that is striving to be an equitable, joyful Beloved Community. Part of the RJAT training was a very (very very) long internal survey of where we are as a church, in which we were able to lay out several very specific action steps we can work on. This group will be working on those, but there is room for creativity here along the way, it isn't a prescriptive list, just one to help us in this work. This group may work with the Board, the worship team, RFC staff, etc, (Facilitator: Rich Gruber)
Education: We recognize that anti-racism, anti-supremacy and building emergent culture is an ongoing project, not a destination, this group aims to help further our own growth and education in ourselves and the congregation. (Facilitator: TBD)
Legislative: this group will primarily be the contact group for our work with GHIAA and with the CT Black and Puerto Rican Causus. We will be meeting with our contact person from GHIAA (Merica) in the next week or two so if you want to work with GHIAA let me know soon so that I can make sure you get the link for that meeting. I'll talk more about this further down in this emal. (Facilitator: Miela Gruber, team members include all of the GHIAA core team who still want to be involved and anyone else who is interested in the legislative piece of this work. )
We really hope that you see yourself in this fight, and that you find hope and joy in these difficult times by joining in solidarity with all people for liberation. If you are interested and want to be included in the basecamp group in any of these in particular please let one of us know. If you are confused by Basecamp or want help finding your way around the app, please contact Lynn.
More updates: The congregation will hopefully affirm the mission statement that we wrote last year, I will include it at the bottom of this email for you to take a look and if anything concerns you, or you want to discuss it, please let me know. I'd be happy to talk about it, and we are open to changing it if there is something we missed.
Following and based on the house meeting stage of the legislative period, GHIAA has picked the following priorities for research. Once the research stage has finished, they will begin cutting the issues and begin action. All of the GHIAA core members should have an email from Cori with the video of the annual meeting with the next steps as well as a survey which is due Tuesday. The survey asks if you want o help with the research stage of any of the current issues. Please sign up if you have an interest or passion, or experience in any of the following areas: If you didn't get the email from Cori with the link for the survey let me know so I can forward it to you. The issues are:
Environment/climate equity and change (right Lynn?) I believe this would include the research on asthma rates in Hartford too??
They also worked on an emergency basis on some juvenile justice legislation coming up that is very concerning, riding on the dangerous "rise in crime" rhetoric going on.
The Black and Puerto Rican Caucus (led by Rep. Geraldo Reyes, D-Waterbury, and Rep Bobby Gibson, D-Bloomfield, Windsor) announced nine legislative priorities for 2022. We hope that RFC will be able to do our small part to support their efforts as well. They are:
COVID-19 heatlh equity
Economic development and workforce
You can find more details about each of these nine pillars at the BPRC page at wp.cga.ct.gov.
Finally, here is the mission statement that Kristin read today:
Riverfront Family Church is fully committed to the liberation of each person from the bonds of oppression and injustice, acknowledging that we too need to be liberated. This is our sacred work.
We believe in a god who loves us all, without exception, and that God's love is both just and merciful. We believe that it is our responsibility to work to heal the wounds caused when the Christian church has been used as a weapon of intersectional harm and exploitation. This is our spiritual responsibility.
We actively seek to expose and dismantle our complicity with beliefs and systems-including white supremacy (and patriarchy) that perpetuate injustice and oppression. We reject the violence and spiritual falsehood of relationship based on coercion or hierarchy. We embrace "power with" relationships, elevate the value of communal responsibility over the value of individualism, and seek the ongoing creation of cooperative egalitarian community. this is the lived expression of our beliefs.
We value deep listening, humility, joy, relational power, transformation, restoration, and equity. We commit to following pro-Black and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color civil rights leaders of all genders, sexualities, faith traditions, and generations, past, present and future-in solidarity and with deep respect. We commit to supporting justice work as it takes shape in our congregation and beyond. We believe justice and liberation of all of us is necessary for real love, joyful relationship, and the wholeness that the Creator intended for all of creation.
Once again, we know it has been a tough couple of years for folks, and so we embrace this work as sometimes difficult, but also as joyful, hopeful work, and look forward to joining with you in solidarity.