Confronting Racism & Oppression
Literature, Film & Drama Contingent (LFDC)
The LFDC (Literature, Film and Drama Contingent) is a program within the Social Justice Council’s “Confronting Racism & Oppression” Initiative. UUCB Member, Camille Parker, is the organizer and this group meets monthly on the first Sunday from 12:30 to 2:30. During the Covid pandemic we are following CDC Guidelines and meeting virtually, using the ZOOM app. The Zoom link for each month’s meeting will be on the uucb.org website in the right sidebar, in the “Special Events” section. All are always welcome to join. Please come and be a part of terrific and insightful discussions. Bring your own ideas for future book readings, films, dramas and author presentations.
January 5:–Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens (Hosts: Susan Blair, Smiley Nelson & the LFDC Chorus)
February 2:–The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison (Host: Camille Parker)
March 1:–Infidel, Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Host: Dorothy Herzberg) “There is a huge difference between being intolerant and tolerating intolerance.”
April 5:–Sticks and Stones: Disabled People’s Stories of Abuse, Defiance and Resilience (Host: Marsha Saxton; Special Guest: Megan Kirshbaum)
June 7:–How Jews Became White Folks: And What That Says About Race in America, Professor Karen Brodkin (Special Guest: Dr. Karen Brodkin. Host: Lenore Ralston)
August 2:–Hiroshima, John Hersey (Commemorating the 75th year after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) (Hosts: Don Klose and Beth Jerde)
September 6:–The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates (Host: Lynne Henderson)
November 1:–UUA 2020 Common Read: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Beacon Press, 2015). (Special Guests: Professor Dunbar-Ortiz and Jean Mendoza. Hosts: Mimi Bull, Rev. Catherine Boyle, Katie Lipka). Click HERE for a PDF with more information.
December 6:–It’s Time to Talk (and Listen): How to Have Conversations About Race, Class, Sexuality, Ability and Gender in a Polarized World, Anastasia Kim and Alicia Del Prado (Host: Joanne Wile)
January 6:–Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell (Lonnie Moseley)
February 3:–Black History Month Mélange: (1) Julie Rogers, “The Origins of Whiteness”; (2) Helen Tinsley-Jones, shares family’s quilt depicting the Underground Railroad; (3) Lonnie Moseley and Cordell Sloan, “The Hidden Messages within the Negro Spiritual.”
March 3:–Women’s History Month: History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier, Deborah Lipstadt (Nan Yarbrough). And Julie Ann Winkelstein will talk about “Celebrating the History of Contra Costa County’s Jewish Community,” special events going on through June at the Richmond Museum of History.
April 7:–Learning to Be White: Money Race and God in America, UU Minister Rev. Thandeka (Christina Creveling)
May 12:–There There, Tommy Orange (Mimi Bull)
June 2:–Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory, Elizabeth Rosner (Ms. Rosner will join us!) (Lenore Ralston)
July 7:–Don’t Label Me: An Incredible Conversation for Divided Times, Irshad Manji (Beth Jerde)
August 4:–We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, TaNehisi Coates (Lee Olivier & Jonathan Hofeld)
September 1:–UUA Common Read: Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and the Environment (Andrea and Bill Brown)
October 6:–Fishbowl Conversation: “The Impact of Gender.” (Julie Rogers)
November 3:–Lucky Boy, Shanti Sekeran — What really happens to the kids who are separated from their parents by ICE. (Natalie Campbell)
December 1:–The Help, Kathryn Stockett (Julie Rogers)
Previous Years’ Discussions
The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (Nation Book Award winner)
Defying the Nazis: The Sharp’s Story, Artemis Joukowsky, III (We also viewed the Ken Burns’ documentary.)
Whistling Past the Graveyard, Susan Crandall
Margaret Mead and James Baldwin: A Rap on Race (We also listened to a recording of this dialog, enhancing our appreciation of their discussion!)
Martin Luther King, Letter from Birmingham Jail
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Nikki Jones, “The Gender of Police Violence”
Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy
Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible, http://world-trust.org/mirrors-of-privilege-making-whiteness-visible/
The Birth of a Nation, Nate Parker
Loving, Jeff Nichols
Daughters of the Dust, Julie Dash
Film, Cracking the Codes: the System of Racial Inequity
It Can’t Happen Here, Tony Taccone and Bennett Cohen (But, it did, alas….)
The Last Tiger in Haiti, Jeff Augustin
Ayad Akhtar’s play at Berkeley Rep, Disgraced
There are too many articles to list, but there was a particularly lively discussion of: It’s Not About Race!, John Metta
We created Moments of Awareness of Unconscious Bias (MAUBs): As a way to help us get in touch with biases we don’t own, let alone talk about, we share those times we catch ourselves thinking or acting in ways that can be considered racist, biased, or self-hating — in the safe space we have created within our meetings. We believe that awareness is key, because: “Individual ignorance sustains institutional racism,” (Jennell Benson, for the Black Lives Matter movement).
Confronting Racism Workshop (History)
On June 3, 2015, UUCB’s Social Justice Council was proud to hold the Confronting Racism Workshop. 96 people attended! Ferguson killings of African Americans had just happened and the Reverends Ben McBride and Donnell Jones facilitated interactive exercises through which participants were able to speak about their personal racial biases and systemic racism. From attendees’ evaluations: “Made it really – tactile – observable.” “Made me more aware of them.” “I looked deeper.” “I’ve had a lot of experience in education in this. It comes better from a Black reverend who knows love.” “I was already aware [of personal biases], but the workshop heightened what was there: the internalized feelings of being ‘less than’ in America.”
Evaluations also informed the organizers that the workshop was missing the Female Voice, was missing youth and more people of color, and that too much was packed into two hours (and we did run over).
The purpose of the workshop was not just to build on self-awareness of one’s own biases and systemic racism, but to energize people and set a foundation for the work the Confronting Racism Project will do in the Fall and into next year. Forty attendees want to actively participate either in creating the next dialogs or actions, inform and invite others to participate, or lead or participate in a book group or film series. Organizers are thrilled to have this support in moving the confronting racism agenda forward!
Confronting Racism Project Approved by Congregation
At the May 17, 2015 Congregational Meeting the Social Justice Council recommended that the congregation approve the Confronting Racism Project as a sponsored project. The motion was unanimously approved.
Now is the time to Confront Racism. “Black Lives Matter” has found that every 28 hours a black person is killed by a police officer, vigilante, or a security guard. African American Deacon Reggie Lyles from Oakland has said this is like returning to the lynchings of the 1920s.
We can’t let this go on. We have had enough. Now is the time to act! We can thank social media for helping us get to this point of being ready – 35 states supported the people of Ferguson.
Over the next year, the Confronting Racism Project invited our congregation to begin to understand systemic racism and implicit bias. We will engage in actions that lift up these issues. We will participate in dialog, workshops, activities and community actions. We will engage in work that will transform each of us as well as those in nearby communities as we build bridges.
It is now five years later and we are still seeing the killing of African Americans who are jogging, walking away unarmed, pumping gas, just being human. We have watched the murder of George Floyd, wept at the slaughter of Brionna Taylor as she slept in her bed, and so many more since Ferguson in 2015. So many of us are taking to the streets and won’t stop until the police are reformed and the killings stop.
The Confronting Racism Project, was coordinated by our beloved and fearless Nancy “Kelly” Kelly who died in 2018. The Project has been carried on by Jane Eisenstark, and the Social Justice Council. We have learned much and are doing the work of anti-racism.
Two other groups formed under the Confronting Racism & Oppression Project (renamed in 2019), “Whites Opposed to White Supremacy (WOWs)”, whose work involves meeting monthly and tearing through and down the biases they have grown up with. The WOWs have committed to doing their own work and not asking People of Color to “tell” them what anti-racist work to do. The other group formed is the “People of Color Caucus (POCC).” Their work is to help and inform the congregation and minister choices of music, readings, quotes and homilys that are intentionally inclusive of People of Color. This group includes African Americans, LatinX, Asian Americans, Haitian, and mixed race. The POCC and WOWs meet quarterly to share their experiences and next steps in their anti-racism work.