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Racial Justice

We, the members of TLC Racial Justice Team, believe that God's creation enfolds one single humanity made up of multiple ethnicities, all members of an earthly realm. We believe that racism - a mix of power, privilege, and prejudice - is a violation of God's intention for humanity. We seek to stand together in raising our voice against racism and combatting it in any form.  We will rise to this crisis of systemic racism with repentant hearts. We commit to actively work to welcome and honor all people at Transfiguration and in the broader community.

The Racial Justice Team at TLC was formed in the fall of 2016 in response to the "Resolution Addressing Racial Justice" adopted by the ELCA Minneapolis Synod. The team seeks to spread understanding of racial and ethnic issues within the group and the congregation as a whole. This can be done by presenting racially themed events within the church and by participating in events in the wider community.

Racial Justice Team

 Pastor Eva Jensen 

 Shelley Smith 

 Marilyn Erickson 

 Janice Milford 

External Sources of Info

 Chain Reaction 

For each production on social issues, Chain Reaction Theatre Project collects a set of related online and print resources, to help our audience explore the subject matter.

 Minneapolis Synod of ELCA 

Minneapolis Synod of the ELCA web site on racial justice.

 Hopkins Race & Equity 

The Hopkins Race and Equity Initiative (HREI) is a collaborative effort creating opportunities to increase awareness and understanding of race, equity and diversity and promoting a sense of community that welcomes and values all residents. 

 MN Council of Churches 

Minnesota Council of Churches web page on Justice Advocacy.

 Evangelical Lutheran Church 

Evangelical Lutheran Church of America resources on the topic of racial justice

 Antiracism Study 

Antiracism efforts have moved to the national spotlight, and it is critical that we keep the discussions going. Help us continue to educate, build empathy, and transform our communities.

Activities to Date

2021 and Beyond:

  • Have a representative on the Bloomington Police Department Multicultural Advisor Committee

  • Initiative to promote racial dialogue among Bloomington congregations, Bloomington city government and the Bloomington public school system

  • Organize group outings to cultural events (plays and concerts) with a racial theme

2020:

  • Pastor Danny Givens preaching and presenting on Martin Lutheran King Sunday wih a southern luncheon

  • Cooperative book study  with  several other Lutheran congregations in Bloomington "Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US"

2019: 

  • Allies and Friends Workshops February 2019 - a gathering of those in the Christian and Muslim faiths for a day of dialogue

  • Purchase of racially themed books for TLC Library

  • Contributed racially themed artwork for the narthex in memory of Pastor Stephanie

2018:

  • Series of three evening video presentations on systemic racism:

  • "A Time for Burning"

  • "Selma"

  • "Neither Wolf nor Dog"

2017: 

  • Series of three evening video presentations and discussions on the nature of race

  • "Race: the Power of an Illusion"

Related Scripture Passages

Exodus 22:21  You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien; for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
 

Deuteronomy 24:14  You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns.
 

Deuteronomy 24:17-18  You shall not. deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice; you shall not take a widow’s garment in a pledge. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this. 
 

Psalm 94:1-7  Oh Lord, you God of vengeance, you God of vengeance shine forth. Rise up, O judge of the earth; give to the proud what they deserve. O Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exalt? They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast. They crush your people, O Lord, and afflict your heritage. They kill the widow and the stranger, they murder the orphan, and they say “The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive.”
 

Psalm 145:8-9 The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all and his compassion is over all that he has made.
 

Psalm 146:5-9  Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoner free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; and the Lord is righteous. The Lord watches over strangers; and upholds the orphan and the widow; but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
 

Jeremiah 6:13-15  For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying “Peace, peace” when there is no peace. They acted shamefully, they committed abomination; yet they were not ashamed, they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown.
Hosea 8:7  For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads, it shall yield no meal; if it were to yield, foreigners would devour it.

 

Joel 2:28-29  Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
 

Amos 5:18-24  Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord! Why do you want the day of the Lord? It is darkness, not light; as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into a house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake. Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it? I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings; I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.
 

Micah   And I said: Listen you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel! Should you not know Justice?— you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin off my people, and the flesh off their bones; who eat the flesh of my people; flay their skin off them, break their bones in pieces, and chop them up like meat in a kettle, like flesh in a caldron. Then they will cry to the Lord, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have acted wickedly. Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry “Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against those who put nothing into their mouths. Therefore it shall be night to you without vision and darkness to you without revelation. The sun shall go down upon the prophets, and the day shall be black over them; the seers shall be disgraced, and the diviners put to shame; they shall cover their lips for there is no answer from God. But as for me, I am filled with power, with the spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin. Hear thus you rulers of the house of Jacob and chiefs of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity, who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with wrong! Its rulers give judgement for a bribe, its priests teach for a price, its profits give oracles for money; yet they lean upon the Lord and say, “Surely the Lord is with us! No harm shall come upon us.” Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountains of the house a wooded height.
 

John 13:34  or on Just as I have loved you, you should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.
 

Ephesians 2:13-22  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the diving wall, that is the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access to one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows in a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

Additional Books and Videos

BOOKS - NON-FICTION:

Black Like Me , by John Howard Griffin

Waking up White, by Debby Irving

  • Irving writes about her discoveries and how she began to question her long held assumptions about race and culture

The Blood of Emmett Till, by Timothy B. Tyson

  • This extraordinary New York Times bestseller reexamines a pivotal event of the civil rights movement—the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till—“and demands that we do the one vital thing we aren’t often enough asked to do with history: learn from it

Chief Joseph & the Flight of the Nez Perce: The Untold Story of an American      Tragedy,  by Kent Nerburn

  • An engaging chronicle of the infamous 1877 ordeal endured by the nez perce people. 

A Good Time For The Truth, Race in Minnesota, edited by SunYung Shin

  • In this provocative book, sixteen of Minnesota’s best writers provide a range of perspectives on what it is like to live as a person of color in Minnesota. 

Anxious to Talk About It: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully about      Racism, by Carolyn B. Helsel

  • Professor and Pastor Carolyn Helsel draws on her successful experiences with white congregations to offer tools and practices to explore the anxious feelings that can come up when talking about racism. 

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, by Ibram X. Kendi

  • In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history.

The Culture Map, by Erin Meyer

  • Based on her work at INSEAD, the “Business School for the World” based in Paris, Erin Meyer provides a field-tested model for decoding how cultural differences impact international business. 

Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching - A Young Black Man’s      Education, by Michael Denzel Smith

  • Smith, who was raised in a strict military household and surreptitiously listened to hip-hop under the covers at night, writes of the tension between his straight-laced parents and the brash anti-establishment views of his artistic heroes. 

Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, by Jennifer Harvey

  • A book for families, educators, and communities who want to equip their children to be active and able participants in a society that is becoming one of the most racially diverse in the world while remaining full of racial tensions. 

The Sin of White Supremacy: Christianity, Racism, and Religious Diversity in      America, by Jeannine Hill Fletcher

  • The author presents a theological paradigm to help us move toward racial and religious transformation.

The Origin of Others, by Toni Morrison

  • America’s foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging. 

Ways of Grace: Stories of Activism, Adversity and How Sports Can Bring Us     Together, by James Blake

  • Like an overhead smash on the tennis court, James Blake connects in this new book with stories of activism by athletes.

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row, by Anthony Ray Hinton

  • Hinton’s memoir of his wrongful imprisonment for 30 years for three murders he did not commit is a riveting account of the multiple outrages of the criminal justice system of Alabama. 

Anti-Blackness and Christian Ethics, by Vincent W. Lloyd and Andrew Prevot

  • The contributors to the edited volume Anti-Blackness and Christian Ethics have crafted brief reflections on the 2020 uprisings.

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America, by Michael Eric Dyson

  • As the country grapples with racist division at a level not seen since the 1960s, one man's voice soars above the rest with conviction and compassion.

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • It is written as a letter to the author's teenage son about the feelings, symbolism, and realities associated with being Black in the United States. 

The Cross and the Lynching Tree, by Hames H. Cone

  • The revered theologian and social critic explores the paradoxical relationship between Jesus’ death on the cross and the atrocious history of the lynchings of blacks by Southern whites, starting in the post bellum South and leading up to the first decades of the twentieth century. 

The Hate You Give, by Angie Thomas

  • Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

  • In this New York Times bestseller, Michelle Alexander argues that the war on drugs has created a new racial caste system, disproportionately punishing black people. 

The White Racial Frame, by Joe Feagin

  • In this book Joe Feagin extends the systemic racism framework in previous Routledge books by developing an innovative concept: the white racial frame.

The Heart of Whiteness, by Robert Jensen

  • This book offers an honest and rigorous exploration of what Jensen refers to as the depraved nature of whiteness in the United States. 

American Indian Liberation: A Theology of Sovereignty, by George Tinker

  • This thought-provoking work describes the oppression suffered by American Indians since the arrival of European colonists, who brought a different worldview across the ocean and attempted to convert the native population to the religion they brought with them. 

The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race, by Willie James Jennings

  • Why has Christianity, a religion premised upon neighborly love, failed in its attempts to heal social divisions? In this ambitious and wide-ranging work, Willie James Jennings delves deep into the late medieval soil in which the modern Christian imagination grew, to reveal how Christianity's highly refined process of socialization has inadvertently created and maintained segregated societies.

Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson

  • An unforgettable true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to end mass incarceration in America — from one of the most inspiring lawyers of our time.

My Grandmother's Hands, by Resmaa Menakem

  • In this groundbreaking work, therapist Resmaa Menakem examines the damage caused by racism in America from the perspective of body-centered psychology. 

Native Wisdom for White Minds, by Anne Wilson Schaef

  • Schaef shares the richness poured out to her by Native Americans, Aborigines, Africans, Maoris, and others. 

I know What Heaven Looks Like: A Modern Day Coming of Age Story, by L.T. Richardson

  • Whatever your views are on faith and the afterlife, if you’ve ever felt like you were in a fog and needed hope, this book will wake you up.

Black Wall Street: A Lost Dream, by Jay Jay Wilson and Ron Wallace

  • Black Wall Street is a work of historical fiction which builds its story line along the events leading up to the Tulsa race riot of 1921. 

From Red Earth – A Rwanda Story of Healing and Forgiveness, by Denise Uwimana

  • The stories she has uncovered through her work and recounted here illustrate the complex and unfinished work of truth-telling, recovery, and reconciliation that may be Rwanda’s lasting legacy. Rising above their nation’s past, Rwanda’s genocide survivors are teaching the world the secret to healing the wound of war and ethnic conflict. 

Be the Bridge, by Latasha Morrison

  • A leading advocate for racial reconciliation offers a clarion call for Christians to move toward relationship and deeper understanding in the midst of a divisive culture.

One Blood: Parting Words to the Church on Race and Love, by John Perkins 

  • The author offers a call for repentance to both the white church and the black church. He explains how band-aid approaches of the past won't do. 

Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion, by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

  • Wilson-Hartgrove traces his journey from the religion of the slaveholder to the Christianity of Christ. Reconstructing the gospel requires facing the pain of the past and present, from racial blindness to systemic abuses of power. 

Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Congregation in the USA, by Lenny Duncan

  • Dear Church rejects the narrative of church decline and calls everyone—leaders and laity alike—to the front lines of the church's renewal.

Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do, by Claude M. Steele

  • Through dramatic personal stories, Claude Steele shares the experiments and studies.

The Paradigm Conspiracy: Why Our Social SystemsViolate Human Potential—and How We Can Change Them, by Denise Breton and Christopher Largent

  • The Paradigm Conspiracy provides an analytical framework of our current social systems and presents suggestions for change that can ultimately result in an entire paradigm shift.

 

BOOKS - FICTION:

Neither Wolf Nor Dog, by Kent Nerburn

  • A Lakota elder summons a white writer to visit him and help him write a book about his people.

Medicine Walk, by Richard Wagamese

  • A novel about love, friendship, courage, and the idea that the land has within it powers of healing, Medicine Walk reveals the ultimate goodness of its characters and offers a deeply moving and redemptive conclusion. 

I Heard the Owl Call My Name, by Margaret Craven

  • The book tells the story of a young Anglican vicar named Mark Brian who, unbeknownst to him, has not long to live. He learns about the meaning of life when he is to be sent to a First Nations parish in British Columbia.

Sing Unburied Sing, by Jesmyn Ward

  • The book tells a tragic story about an African American family challenged with dissolution, but the threats here are more complex and even more tenacious than the tempest that clawed through Louisiana and Mississippi. 

The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • Set during the era of slavery, the story follows a young black man who discovers that his memories trigger a mysterious power of teleportation that can help escaped slaves flee. Oprah’s Book Club.

 

ADDITONAL BOOKS:

“Jesus and John Wayne” by Kristin Kobes Du Mez

“Be the Bridge” by Latasha Morrison

“The Heart of Whitenness” by Robert Jensen

“Dear White Peacemakers” by Osheta Moore

“How To Be An Antiracist" by Ibram  X. Kendi

“White Fragility” by Robin Diangelo

“Stamped” by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X Kendi

“Caste” by  Isabel Wilkerson

“Parting Words to the Church on Race and Love” by John M Perkins

“Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man” by Emmanuel Acho

“Antiracist Baby” by Ibram X Kendi

“One Drop” by Yaba Blay  

 

BOOKS - CHILDREN/YOUTH:

Tonight, by Sea, by Frances Temple

  • Seek life. Chache Lavi. That's what Paulie's uncle says they must do. But to seek life, Paulie and her family have to leave Haiti-the only home that Paulie has ever known. 

Taste of Salt: A story of Modern Haiti, by Frances Temple

  • Djo has a story: Once he was one of "Titid's boys," a vital member of Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide's election team, fighting to overthrow military dictatorship in Haiti. Now he is barely alive, the victim of a political firebombing.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, by Vashti Harrison

  • Featuring forty trailblazing Black women in American history, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of breaking boundaries and achieving beyond expectations.

Ghost Boys, by Jewell Parker Rhodes

  • A heartbreaking and powerful story about a Black boy killed by a police officer, drawing connections through history.

The Soccer Fence: A Story of Friendship, Hope and Apartheid in South Africa, by Marcha Rakestraw

  • Through the experiences of two young boys of different races who just want to play soccer together, Bildner illustrates the destructive nature of apartheid.

Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Peña

  • Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. 

Thunder Boy Junior, by Sherman Alexie

  • Thunder Boy Jr. wants a normal name...one that's all his own. Dad is known as big Thunder, but little thunder doesn't want to share a name. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he's done like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder.

The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander

  • The Crossover is a young adult novel that follows the life experiences of 12-year-old basketball player Josh Bell across several months in the autumn and early winter of his seventh-grade year at Reggie Lewis Middle School.

One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia

  • In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

Darius and Twigg, by Walter Dean Myers

  • Darius and Twig are an unlikely pair: Darius is a writer whose only escape is his alter ego, a peregrine falcon named Fury, and Twig is a middle-distance runner striving for athletic success. But they are drawn together in the struggle to overcome the obstacles that life in Harlem throws at them. 

 

VIDEOS:

"Neither Wolf nor Dog"

  1. A Lakota elder summons a white writer to visit him and help him write a book about his people.

"Mississippi Burning"

  • When a group of civil rights workers goes missing in a small Mississippi town, FBI agents Alan Ward (Willem Dafoe) and Rupert Anderson (Gene Hackman) are sent in to investigate. Local authorities refuse to cooperate with them, and the African American community is afraid to, precipitating a clash between the two agents over strategy. As the situation becomes more volatile, the direct approach is abandoned in favor of more aggressive, hard-line tactics.

"A Time for Burning"

  • A 1966 American documentary film that explores the attempts of the minister of Augustana Lutheran Church in Omaha, Nebraska, to persuade his all-white congregation to reach out to "NegroLutherans in the city's north side

"Selma"

  • Selma is a 2014 historical drama film based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King Jr..

"The Color of Fear"

  • The film records one focus group's weekend long journey to face their fears regarding racism and sexism. 

"Black Panther"

  • Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.

"Native Nations: Standing Together for Civil Rights"

  • “Native Nations”, chronicles the American Indians' struggle for civil rights, and the creation of the National Indian Lutheran Board to raise funds and awareness for that struggle. 

"Race: The Power of an Illusion"

  • “Race—The Power of an Illusion” questions the very idea of race as innate biology, suggesting that a belief in inborn racial difference is no more sound than believing that the sun revolves around the earth.