RISE!

Race: an In-Depth Spiritual Examination

RISE! PURPOSE

To equip and empower our faith leaders, faith communities, and faith-based organizations to be at the forefront of challenging and combating systemic racism.

RISE! COMPONENTS

  1. Consultation and assessment designed to reveal each faith-based group’s involvement, past, present and proposed, in race-based work or experiences (“faith-based groups” may include, but not be limited to: churches, non-profits, inter-faith partnerships, seminaries, or clergy coalitions);
  2. Customized pre-workshop activities geared to identify strategic participants within each group and prepare them for the dynamic two-day workshop;
  3. Two-day (16-hour) workshop for up to 40 participants. The RISE! workshop examines racism through a spiritual lens, highlighting both its historical roots and its current manifestations within religious institutions and faith practices. Topics covered include:

    1. implicit bias and its impact on our daily behaviors and decision-making
    2. the history of race in the US and its implications today
    3. differentiation of individual actions versus systemic racism
    4. the intersection of race and poverty
    5. a common language and basic analytical framework for on-going conversations and joint problem- solving;
  4. Post-workshop consultation to provide guidance in incorporating workshop concepts and learning into each group’s organizational structure and cross-racial partnerships.

Need for RISE!

Charlotte, NC has had a reputation as a “civil” community, one where civic leaders have congratulated themselves on the city’s ability to “talk-through” inter-racial conflict and find solutions. A 2001 survey of US communities, however, uncovered high levels of inter-racial distrust here, and a 2013 economic opportunity study revealed Charlotte as lowest among 50 cities as measured by upward mobility. After an officer-involved shooting of a black man in September 2016, the city erupted with protests and demonstrations in the downtown streets, leaving others to ask: “what is happening?”

Believing that “civility” alone is not enough, MeckMin (formerly Mecklenburg Ministries) has been working to examine, understand, and address systemic causes of racial and economic disparity in our city, and believes there is an urgent call to increase our capacity to do so. Since its creation in 1989, MeckMin has had a strong commitment to initiatives promoting inter-racial understanding through programs such as InnerChange, BridgeBuilders, Souls of White Folks, Soul-to- Soul, Friday Friends, and the “We Need to Talk” series. MeckMin is uniquely positioned to engage Charlotteans across race, economics, politics, and faith – interrupting old patterns of superficial, one-dimensional cross-racial interactions and challenging people of faith to engage deeply and work together to address systemic issues of racial inequity.