GUEST BLOG: The New Jim Crow--Next Steps

Guest Blog from The Rev. Rosalie Richards, Prison Concerns Committee 

THE NEW JIM CROW--NEXT STEPS
 
Parishes and individuals who are reading The New Jim Crow have requested ideas and opportunities for what they can do now.  The following are ongoing opportunities for Next Steps, gathered by the Reconciliation Commission, Diversity Committee and Prison Concerns Committee:

1.  The most important support is prayer.  If individuals will commit to this, it is a powerful connection.  
...For People In Prison...A way to enter this is to think about challenges people in prison face and pray for all who struggle with things in particular, such as…
Those on Suicide Watch
Those whose families have cut ties
Those struggling with addiction
Self image
Forgiveness
For the families
...For Lawmakers...Prayer is also needed for those who make the laws, that they will understand the damage they are causing our society, that they will find ways to change this.
 

2.  More reading, adding perspectives to the dialogue, including the following for consideration:

  • *Becoming Ms.Burton:  from Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women," by Susan Burton and Cari Lynn, forward by Michele Alexander. Susan Burton, who has been compared to Harriet Tubman, emerged from substance abuse and multiple incarcerations to founding several safe houses in Los Angeles for former incarcerated women. 
  • *Caught:  The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics," by Marie Gottschalk. The author analyzes shortcomings of two main penal reform strategies of what she names the ever-widening carceral state. 
  • *Waking up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race," by Debby Irving.  A story of how a white woman, working for racial understanding, dug deeply into her own white privilege.  
  • *Just Mercy," by Bryan Stevenson. An award-winning and NYTimes best selling book which makes clear how poor and people of color seldom receive equal justice under the law in the U.S. 

3.  Province 1 of the Episcopal Church taped a webinar on The New Jim Crow. St. Matthew's, Goffstown parishioner and member of the Reconciliation Commission James McKim can tell you more. He can be reached at jtmckim@gmail.com.

4.  State Rep. Wayne Moynihan (Coos Country, District 2) is available to visit interested groups and parishes to discuss and update them on this and other issues around the state. You can email Rep. Moynihan at wayne.moynihan@leg.state.nh.us to request that he come to your parish.  He also has information on an alternative to incarceration, called Drug courts, and can share information with your parishes.

5. SAVE the DATE—November 13, 2017 at 6 pm, the Diversity Committee will be showing a documentary film Thirteenth at the Red River Theatre in Concord.  Please come, and join with others to watch this powerful movie.


We hope it will begin, or continue, a conversation about our history and our present day reality.
This event is one of several events which you will hear about, which are being planned to help the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire fulfill the General Convention Resolution mentioned below, which aims to address prejudice issues that divide the people of God.  

Everyone is welcome to this “by donation” showing.  Please watch for more details from the Diocesan Office and the Diversity Committee.

6.  The Reconciliation Committee is working on next steps, specifics will be shared in the coming months.  This is a based on “Becoming Beloved Community” which a direct response to General Convention Resolution C019 (“Establish Response to Systemic Injustice.” The Reconciliation Committee is including voices from other committees as the goals of Becoming Beloved Community are implemented.  

Below is an introduction to this wide-ranging work which is being fleshed out in our own diocese.  (http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2017/05/03/episcopal-church-releases-becoming-beloved-community-guide-for-racial-reconciliation-efforts/)

“Becoming Beloved Community is designed as a strategic path through distinct phases that lead to personal and structural transformation:
1. Telling the Truth about the Church and Race, via a census to determine church demographics and a Racial Justice Audit to study the impact of racism on the Church’s leadership, organizations and bodies.
2. Proclaiming the Dream of Beloved Community, via a series of regional public listening and learning engagements, starting with a partnership at Washington National Cathedral.
3. Practicing the Way of Love, via a churchwide Beloved Community story-sharing campaign, multilingual and multigenerational formation and training, pilgrimages and liturgical resources.
4. Repairing the Breach in Institutions and Society, via advocacy for criminal justice reform, re-entry collaboratives shaped by people moving from prison back to community, and partnership with Saint Augustine’s University and Voorhees College (the historically black university and college associated with the Episcopal Church).

Many churches request to know what other parishes are doing.  Please email Prison Concerns (c/o Rosalie Richards, RNealRichards@gmail.com) with your reactions and plans. We will continue to post ideas.