This I Believe/Racial Justice is Personal is a new project from the Racial Justice Initiative.
In each Friday’s Latest News from Plymouth email, you will find a link to a video story from a member or friend of Plymouth describing their thoughts and experiences on racism, racial equity, white culture and/or white advantage. These stories will also appear on the Plymouth website and Facebook page. Our goal with these personal stories is to inspire reflection and action, and we offer them with humility and vulnerability.
Experts who lead transformative anti-racism work ask us to turn our attention away from the actions of individual bigots and instead look at ourselves. We are asked to consider why white supporters of racial equality remained silent in the face of a continuing and deepening inequality in our society. In the early weeks of This I Believe, RJI members will practice speaking up, and we invite you to listen with an open heart and mind. RJI hopes that all of the stories, from people you may know, will inspire deeper thought about your own relationship to systemic racism. Before Plymouth can become a truly anti-racist church, we need to first look at our own participation in a system that favors white people. RJI wants to engage the entire Plymouth congregation in the writing of personal stories in the weeks and months ahead.
We invite you to consider writing and sharing your own story.
Writing your story….
We invite you to reflect on your own experiences, perhaps an “a-ha” moment you had or a situation you encountered, in the past or recently, that has stayed with you and shaped your thoughts and feelings on racism, equity, and/or white advantage. How have your feelings or behavior changed as you have thought about that moment or encounter? It need not be a long story, please use 250 to 400 words as a guide.
When you have written your story, you will be invited to participate in a writing roundtable. Sharing your personal story can be emotional and vulnerable. The intent of the roundtable is to create a safe space to read your story and get reactions from the other participants. They are limited to 4 to 5 participants and are currently held monthly via Zoom. Historian, writer, and Plymouth member Annette Atkins facilitates the writing roundtable. She describes it as follows:
“The members of the roundtable are not editors or critics, but friendly readers who provide a supportive, helpful response to the writing. The author and the readers then become partners in thinking about the essay.”
Recording your story….
Once you have finalized your story, we ask you to record it at home using any method that is best for you. We are using recorded videos because the spoken word carries more meaning and power than the written word. In addition, recording from your home adds a level of intimacy to the telling of the story. Recording yourself maybe a new experience for you; the church audio/video production staff can help with this process. Once you have completed your recording, you will send it to one of the audio/video production staff. We believe there is power and value in sharing these stories with the Plymouth community in the widest way possible. Your video story will be featured in an upcoming Latest News from Plymouth email, posted on Plymouth’s website via YouTube, the Plymouth Facebook page, and other social media platforms. Since the video will be in the public domain and in keeping with Plymouth communication practices, we will ask that you sign a media release form prior to releasing your video.
We hope you give serious consideration to joining us and practice speaking up.
Writing and Sharing Process Summary….
- If you want to participate in this project, contact Jean Kennedy, contact info is below
- Write your personal story, between 250 to 400 words.
- Participate in one of the monthly writing round tables.
- Finalize your story for recording.
- Record your story from home and submit video to the church staff.
- Your video story will be included in an upcoming Friday email that is sent to the Plymouth Community, posted on the Plymouth website via YouTube, the Plymouth Facebook page and other social media platforms.
If you would like to view a few previously released This I Believe stories you can view them at:
Want to write and share your story or have questions….
If you want to participate in the This I Believe/Racial Justice is Personal project or have questions, please contact Jean Kennedy at jekennedy21 (a) comcast.net