I am not a preacher’s kid and I have no Rabbis or faith leaders in my family or friends circle. So it may seem odd that I am co-facilitating a 4-week course on leading faith and spiritual communities through a racial justice lens
. Over my 20 years of helping white people grasp the enormity of our task - to become anti-racist in all our actions and beliefs - I have witnessed the pain and challenge of so many leaders. Across philanthropy, social service and advocacy organizations, schools and universities, as well as spiritual and faith communities - leaders are being called to show up. We are being asked to take responsibility for doing our work through an anti-racist lens. And for me, as well as so many of my colleagues, the very work of anti-racism is spiritual work. From questions of belonging and identity to discernment about moral and ethical action - anti-racism demands and a level of self-reflection that is well known to spiritual leaders. And yet, leading is a lonely business. And yet it doesn’t need to be. White supremacy culture would have us remain in anxious isolation, in our heads, not taking action.
With all this in mind and my experience and network across the LGBTQ movement, I have been in deep dialogue with my co-facilitator, Chris Crass about the way forward for white leaders who want to be more courageous and consistent in their anti-racist leadership. What can we offer to white faith and spiritual leaders to support you in your high visibility, high stakes moments as well as your everyday community building? We believe that across denominations and practices, there is a deeply shared interest among leaders for space to be inspired, supported, and challenged around anti-racism.
Whether your community is exclusively white or multi-racial, white leaders face questions about conflict, courage, analysis, and accountability which are complex. How can we show up in our leadership with clarity and purpose - yet humble and open-minded? What tools will help us align our communities and move forward without harm? What does building a community of resistance looks like? These are the questions that led us to design our 4 part workshop series, Responding to the Call: Anti-Racism: White Anti-Racist Faith/Spiritual Leadership.