Ideas for lowering racial barriers in our Meetings
Moving the Meeting forward
- Recruit a small group within the Meeting that is willing to focus on efforts to move the Meeting to becoming more multicultural. See tinyurl.com/Changegroup.
- Conduct regular antiracism audits of Meeting.
- Conduct a Listening Project within the Meeting on diversity and outreach.
- Seek feedback from people of color and take it seriously.
- Designate a person or small committee to listen to anyone who has experienced behavior in the Meeting that makes them feel disrespected and less than a full member of the community.
- Let people know we exist in ways other than “word of mouth” such as print, broadcast and online media.
- Make sure information about the Meeting shows up in communities of color and in media read by those communities.
- Become actively involved in local community social justice work that is led by people of color.
- Develop joint youth program with a multicultural or mostly people of color congregation.
- Conduct workshops on…
- how racism affects both whites and people of color
- understanding microaggressions
- white fragility
- Learn how congregations composed mostly of people of color support their membership and consider using similar approaches in the Meeting.
- Learn from denominations that have been trying to be more multicultural (e.g. UU, UCC and Episcopal Church).
- Learn from local congregations that have been successfully multicultural (less than 80% of any one race) for many years.
- Look for resources in the “Black Studies” department of the local university.
- Create a fund so people who make their living helping communities address diversity issues can be paid for helping the Meeting.
- Conduct several sessions of age-appropriate antiracism training for the First Day School and then ask children to report what they learned at the Rise of Meeting.
- Create a fund to support members or attenders in attending training programs on racial issues.
- Encourage white Friends to get to know individual people of color.
- Encourage Friends not to let their fears of interracial missteps--no matter how well founded those fears are--keep them from engaging with people of other ethnicities.
Meeting the needs of everyone
- Conduct First Day programs that assume the presence of children of color and work to meet the needs of all children.
- Increase emphasis on pastoral care.
- Work with the BYM camping program.
- Provide meals rather than snacks at Meeting events.
- Reduce costs of attending Meeting events either through Meeting subsidies or scholarships or through reliance on free-will offerings.
- Insure that photos and graphic art used in Meeting activities include people of color.
- Use bilingual Spanish/English signage in the meeting house.
- Advertise that a half hour before the scheduled start of Meeting for Worship early arrivals can either enter the Meeting Room for worship or take part in a welcoming “coffee hour.”
Specific support for Friends of color
- Be alert to specific barriers individual people of color may encounter in becoming involved and work to overcome them.
- Make sure any people of color involved in Meeting activities are heard when they speak.
- Help individual people of color who show up several times to become more involved in Meeting work.
- Let Friends know about the activities of the Fellowship of Friends of African Descent in the Meeting newsletter or email list.
- Have one or more white Friends known by Friends of color who are willing to speak up on their behalf, if requested, concerning race-related problems in the Meeting.