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Working Group on Racism

Caste One Book Project Beginning September 14th


The Working Group on Racism (WGR) is asking Baltimore Yearly Meeting Friends to read Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, The Lies that Divide Us by Isabel Wilkerson. 

WGR members will host a Caste reading group by Zoom, available to all in the Yearly Meeting.  Zoom offers the option of access to the reading group by phone.

Friends are also invited to read Caste as Monthly Meetings or as individuals. The BYM Working Group on Racism is available to support these options. Ellen Cronin can be reached at

The Caste reading group will be offered via Zoom seven Wednesday evenings, 7-8:30, beginning Wednesday September 14 and ending December 14. Many across the Yearly Meeting have been reading and working in anti-racism for years. CASTE is a somewhat difficult reading rather than a beginners’ introduction to reckoning about race and racism. Each session will feature readings, together with questions and queries, and online, opportunity for large-group discussion and small-group sharing. Friends of Color are invited to indicate a preference for an affinity group.  We hope the numbers will make this possible.

The aims of the series:

  • Offer white Friends an opportunity for spiritual searching and growth in processing the information and perspective presented by the author, seeking to understand historical and present-day prejudice and trauma from a Black perspective.
  • Offer a place for participants to practice ways to approach difficult readings and conversations, aided by somatic body work and supporting each other, especially when making mistakes and taking risks.
  • Offer BYM Quakers an additional means to educate ourselves together, and move closer to having BYM be an anti-racist faith community.


The Working Group on Racism works to consider issues of race relations in general and Friends' testimonies in relation to the issues of race in the modern day. It pursues its work under the care of the Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee.

The Working Group has developed a variety of resources, seminars, and documents that they make available for Friends. Links to many of these are available at

Would you like to join other members and attenders of Friends Meetings in positive discussions about racism in the Religious Society of Friends? If so, click Quakers talk about Racism.

Would you like to chat with fellow Quakers about all the various types of diversity as related to Friends: race, class, age and gender to name a few? If so, then click QuakerQuaker.Org Diversity Group.

Both sites groups direct you to many online resources on these topics. Establishing your own account with these groups enables you to participate fully in the discussions.

The Working Group has published a new flyer: “A Quaker Response to Events in Ferguson, MO – What Can I Do?.” Click here to download a copy.

The Working Group has published a brochure inviting Friends for form change groups to help their Meetings become more whole entitled “You are Invited to Help Friends in Your Meeting Live as Members of the Blessed Community.” Training is available for those of you who accept this invitation.

The Working Group has identified congregations of several denominations in the DC and Baltimore areas that are already “multicultural” (less than 80% of any one ethnicity). Visiting those congregations might give us some ideas of  what to do in our Meetings. That list is here.

Listed below are the current members of the Working Group.

David Etheridge, Clerk
Friends Meeting of Washington
Jane Meleny Coe
Bethesda Friends Meeting
Ellen Cronin
Sandy Spring Friends Meeting
Paul Didisheim
Friends Meeting of Washington
Elizabeth DuVerlie
Baltimore Monthly Meeting, Stony Run
Peirce Hammond
Bethesda Friends Meeting
Donna Kolaetis
Menallen Monthly Meeting
Patience "Pat" Schenck
Annapolis Friends Meeting

Thinking about Race Reports

The text of the Working Group on Racism's monthly Thinking About Race reports is available. To jump to a particular year's reports, simply click the year listed below.

2011 Report 2012 Report 2013 Report 2014 Report 2015 Report
2016 Report 2017 Report 2018 Report  

Ideas for Lowering Barriers

Faith-Based Antiracism Curricula

Resources for Local Meetings

Listening Project on Diversity and Outreach Report

Working Group on Racism Annual Reports

Working Group on Racism Interchange Reports

In 2010 and 2011, Baltimore Yearly Meeting undertook a project to consider the vision of the Yearly Meeting community. As a part of that project, each committee was asked to respond to a set of queries that had been promulgated by the ad hoc Visiting Ministers Committee. The Working Group on Racism's responses are available here.

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