Friends General Conference

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Encouraging diversity and racial justice through the Ministry on Racism

Image credit: Stoph Hallward
FGC News
By Marta Rusek and Richie Schulz | 10/29/15


A Friend at FGC once said “In order to know God, we have to know all the faces of God.” This sentiment has become one of the rallying cries of FGC’s Ministry on Racism program, which works with individual Friends and Quaker meetings to examine the roots of white supremacy in order to facilitate a more diverse and egalitarian Religious Society of Friends.

Since 2008, the Ministry on Racism has worked with Quaker meetings around the United States and Canada to help Friends develop awareness of racial and ethnic bias, address the impact of structural racism on society, and increase the diversity of their faith community. The Ministry on Racism organizes retreats for Friends of Color and their families, sponsors a group discount and facilitates Quaker hospitality for the annual White Privilege Conference (WPC), and hosts a pre-Gathering retreat prior to the annual FGC Gathering.

The journey towards racial justice and promoting diversity can be eye-opening and uncomfortable for Friends at first, but thanks to the guidance of Coordinator Vanessa Julye and her team of trained facilitators, the Ministry on Racism has been successful in creating spaces where Friends of Color can share their experiences and hopes while being heard and nurtured by fellow Friends.

In recent months, the Ministry on Racism has expanded its scope of challenging racism to include confronting the history of oppression and genocide of indigenous peoples in the United States. From disseminating information on the damaging effects of the Doctrine of Discovery* to focusing on WPC outreach for First Nations, the Ministry on Racism team is working hard to expand the conversation on racism and foster an environment that is welcoming to newcomers and Friends from all walks of life.

The Ministry on Racism is also proud to promote the work of FGC-affiliated Yearly and Monthly Meetings engaged in racial justice and diversity initiatives. Richie Schulz, FGC’s Quaker Voluntary Service Fellow for the 2015-2016 service year, has produced a web resource compiling up-to-date profiles of Quaker meetings, their projects, and their recommended resources that will updated on a regular basis to inform and inspire other Quaker meetings to take action.

Learn how you can nurture a faith community that is passionate about racial justice and welcoming diverse newcomers in your Quaker meeting. Click here to visit the Ministry on Racism’s website.

*The Doctrine of Discovery is the legal foundation for U.S. and Indian property law. It stems from a series of 15th-century papal bulls granting European explorers free range to claim indigenous lands in the new world in the name of Christendom.