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Two RiCS sessions, Aug. 30 and Sept. 6

The Reimagining Community Safety Committee’s (RiCS) guiding principle has been “We are watching, we expect results, and we are not going away.”


As part of its continuing work, RiCS will provide Plymouth members with opportunities to provide input on the implementation of the court enforceable Settlement Agreement between the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) and the City of Minneapolis. The settlement agreement is intended to end racially discriminatory policing in Minneapolis.


The Settlement Agreement requires the City and the Minneapolis Police Department to hold regular listening sessions with the community to seek input on the reforms and the progress being made under the Settlement Agreement.

Plymouth is privileged to host two of these MDHR listening sessions: Wednesday. August 30, in Guild Hall, and Wednesday, September 6, in the Jackman Room.  Both will run from 6 to 8 p.m.

These listening sessions will be hosted by City representatives, and the topic at each meeting will be non-discriminatory policing, as well as the overall mission, vision, values and goals of public safety. We encourage all of our members to attend one of these listening sessions. Our city and our Plymouth neighborhood will benefit from our input.

Last spring, RiCS hosted a Town Hall Forum on the Settlement Agreement, featuring MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero; Justin Terrell, Executive Director of the Minnesota Justice Research Center; and Michael Lansing, a historian and professor at Augsburg University.

RiCS is a committee of the Racial Justice Initiative at Plymouth.

Town Hall: Court-Enforceable Police Reform Settlement Agreement

The released court-enforceable settlement agreement between the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) and the City of Minneapolis is the topic of a town hall forum on Tuesday, May 23, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis.

The court-enforceable settlement agreement lays out a road map for achieving non-discriminatory policing and better support for community safety in Minneapolis. The agreement has a four-year term, after which it may be reviewed on an annual basis until compliance is met.

The in-person event on May 23, “Police Reform: What to Expect from the Court-Enforceable Settlement Agreement Between the City of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR),” is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

Speakers include MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero, who will address MDHR’s perspective, and Justin Terrell from the Minnesota Justice Research Center (MNJRC), an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to driving meaningful change to Minnesota’s criminal legal system. The MNJRC conducted community meetings for the MDHR during 2022 seeking input on the types of reforms the community was seeking from the Minneapolis Police Department.

The evening’s moderator is Dr. Michael Lansing, a professor of history at Augsburg University. Lansing has done considerable research and writing on the topic of police reform. Since the murder of George Floyd three years ago, local media have frequently turned to Lansing for historical context about the Minneapolis Police Department, police leadership and police reform. He is currently writing a book titled “A Police State: Politics and Public Safety in Minneapolis, 1945-2020,” a book that explores the rise of and resistance to police power in Minneapolis. He and an academic colleague, Dr. Yohuru Williams from the University of St. Thomas, have initiated a racial justice project called “Overpoliced and Underprotected in MSP.”

Event hosts include Plymouth’s Re-Imagining Community Safety Committee, which is part of the church’s Racial Justice Initiative; the League of Women Voters Minneapolis; and the Minnesota Justice Research Center.

Racial Justice Sunday

Racial Justice Sunday

May 21, 2023

Plymouth Congregational Church will host its first-ever Racial Justice Sunday on Sunday, May 21.  The reasons we’re doing this are to call attention to and to advance our Racial Justice Initiative’s purpose statement, goals and spiritual principles. See below for RJI’s purpose statement, goals and spiritual principles.



Racial Justice Sunday will feature two worship services at 9 and 11 a.m. with a racial justice theme.  Rev. Jessica Chapman Lape – a womanist pastoral theologian, chaplain and doula rooted in faith, love and reproductive justice – will speak at both services. The Asiginaak Singers, a hand drum and singing group, will perform at both services.







The Forum speaker for Racial Justice Sunday will be Kenya McKnight-Ahad, founder and CEO of Black Women’s Wealth Alliance (BWWA).  BWWA is a culturally specific institution that has been serving Black women-owned businesses, workers and students since 2014. McKnight-Ahad will talk about the power, responsibility and opportunity women have in healing generational traumas, closing the racial wealth gap, and helping to cultivate a more just and fair society for our collective future.



Small Group Discussion

A small group discussion for children, youth and adults will be held at 10 a.m. in the Howard Conn Gallery. Young people have grown up in a very different society as it pertains to race, and they have perspectives that can challenge and change us. Join co-facilitators Nina Jonson, director of Children and Youth Ministry, and Aiysha Mustapha, Advancement and Equity Specialist in Robbinsdale Public Schools, for an intergenerational conversation on race.  Don’t miss this chance to hear from, interact with and share conversation with the children and teens who are the future of our church and our country.






Sign Up to Receive Daily Actions designed to increase your awareness and increase racial justice and equity.

Please check out Plymouth’s website and join us for 21 Days of Justice. If you opt-in for this series of messages, you will receive actions for the day that are designed

to increase your awareness, move you out of your comfort zone, and leave you with actionable items to increase racial justice and equity in your life and work.






21 Days of Justice

In anticipation of Plymouth churches, racial justice Sunday on May 21st, and the third annual George Floyd memorial gathering on May 25th, our Plymouth community is engaging in 21 days of justice.

Sign up to receive a daily email beginning on May 1st, with an action for the day designed to increase your awareness, move you out of your comfort zone, and leave you with actionable items to increase racial justice and equity in your life and work.

Each email will include two activity options, one more specifically focused on children and youth and one for the general population.

Our 21 days of Justice Will culminate on racial justice Sunday, but the work will never be completed.

Commit today to join your fellow Plymouthites’ life-giving anti-racist work.

Civic Buzz Town Hall: MPD Chief Brian O’Hara to Speak at Plymouth on Police Reform and Community Safety

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara will be the guest speaker at a Town Hall at Plymouth Congregational Church at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 2. The Town Hall is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters Minneapolis (LWVMpls), Plymouth’s Re-Imagining Community Safety Committee and Mill City Commons.


Plymouth’s lead minister Rev. Dr. DeWayne Davis will welcome attendees. Ellen van Iwaarden, program director of the LWVMpls, will facilitate the discussion.


O’Hara is expected to talk about the complexities of police reform and his plans to increase public safety in the City of Minneapolis. O’Hara was named Minneapolis Police Department chief in November 2022 after previously serving as the deputy mayor of the City of Newark. Throughout his career, Chief Brian A. O’Hara has worked collaboratively with communities and other public safety divisions, including alternatives to policing strategies, to enact enduring change.

LMVMpls is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in all levels of government, works to increase understanding of major policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Its Civic Buzz interactive town halls feature pressing local issues, focused discussion and knowledgeable speakers.

Plymouth Congregational Church is a progressive faith community grounded in the Christian tradition. It has a long history of being committed to racial, economic, social and climate justice. Its Re-Imagining Community Safety committee was formed nearly three years ago after the death of George Floyd to actively promote the re-imagining of community safety in the City of Minneapolis, on the basis of faith values.


Book Study. The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

Book Study: Tuesdays at 10:30 am & Wednesdays at 6:30 pm                    

Led by Peter Eichten

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, by Heather McGhee.

In the 1950s and 1960s, white officials in communities across the country opted to drain their public swimming pools rather than integrate them. Generations later, the United States still hasn’t recognized that racism has a cost for everyone.  This book is an excellent analysis of how we arrived here: divided and self-destructing, materially rich but spiritually starved and vastly unequal.  Our future can look different.  This five-week course will dive deep into the material in the book and help us to learn what we can all do to prosper together.  The course will be held in-person only on Tuesday mornings from 10:30 – 12:00 and repeated on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 – 8:00.  The course will begin on January 17 and run consecutively for five weeks. Registration is required.

This offering is sponsored by the Racial Justice Initiative and is open to all interested individuals.  Plymouth members are encouraged to invite friends and family to join you for this rich review and meaningful discussion.

Want to encourage voting in November?

Please join us to write personalized, non-partisan letters urging sometime voters to vote this November. Work with others at our table in Jones Commons 9:45–11:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 18 and 25, and October 2, 16, and 23. We will provide names, addresses, examples, and stamps.

Sponsored by the Racial Justice Initiative

Building the Beloved Community Public Safety Project

Session #3

Tuesday, June 28

In-person and Online



Please join us at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28, for our third police encounter dilemma and discussion. It is not necessary to have participated in the first or second discussion. All are welcome. We will hold our discussion live and in person at the church, but will also offer a Zoom streaming option.

 Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington has given us our third police encounter dilemma scenario for feedback, a dilemma he faced as a young police officer, involving an encounter at night, answering a frantic 911 caller’s demand for police support.

Commissioner Harrington has thanked participating congregations for our feedback from the first two sessions and is eager to have our continuing feedback from this third session.



As with our first two sessions, this third session will focus on a specific police encounter dilemma that Commissioner Harrington has prepared for each faith community’s detailed discussion and feedback.  We will view a video about this dilemma, followed by a discussion of our immediate and visceral reactions to this dilemma.  Then Rev. Dr. DeWayne Davis will introduce a faith reading that bears on this dilemma, and we will break into small groups to discuss how the values of our faith tradition may change our views about this dilemma.  This feedback will be given to Commissioner Harrington.

Important to Note: During this session, we will be showing a video that discusses police fear in the dark of night about a possibly armed and non-compliant suspect. We encourage everyone to prepare themselves emotionally for this and to mute and/or turn off video if you sense that this may be traumatizing to you.

Registration is required.  

Click here to register to attend this event live at church. 

Click here to attend this event via zoom