By Racial Justice Task Force, Published on January 28, 2017
Ken Wagner will lead an 8-session workshop at First Parish called “Being White in a Racist Society” on Thursday evenings from Feb 16 to April 13 (note date change due to Feb. 9 storm), 7:00 to 9:00pm, with no session on Feb 23 during school vacation week. This is an exciting opportunity for us at First Parish. Ken’s workshop is highly recommended by other UUs, and is free! The only requirement is that participants commit to attending all eight sessions, as each session builds on the work done the previous week.
The workshop is primarily focused on helping white people understand the racial component of their identity, and learn how to live with authenticity and integrity as a white person in a society grounded in white supremacy. It involves understanding the structural foundation of racism quite apart from the bigotry and discrimination that flows from individuals and how it exists almost independently of individual racist people. Racism itself is the source of great confusion among white folks because there are so many different definitions and conceptions of what it is and what it is not. Thus, one encounters claims of “reverse racism” from individuals who have an entirely distorted concept of what racism is or is not. We work through what the role of white people can or should be in racial justice movements, what our role in Black Lives Matter might be, what it means to be in solidarity with people of color and what it looks like to exhibit ally behavior. We discuss situations and responses, i.e., things we commonly hear but are sometimes frustrated in responding to in an effective fashion. Each week, Ken will send out reading material for use in the following session.
The session dates are Feb. 9 and 16; March 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30; and April 6. You can come to the first session on Feb. 9 to see if you would like to sign on with no obligation. Also, during the fourth session, on March 9, a film will be shown followed by a discussion. It is possible to attend that session without going to the others.
Ken Wagner preached at First Parish on Jan. 22 and is an active UU with a long history in lay leadership. He is the former president of the Clara Barton District, the District Presidents Association and First Parish Church of Stow & Acton. He is married to Laura Wagner, Executive Director of UU Mass Action. Laura and Ken are both members of the UUA’s Allies for Racial Equity and are committed to anti-racism/anti-oppression/multicultural work. He has led anti-racism workshops for UU congregations, including Lexington and Groton.
If you want to participate, please sign-up with Marianne McGowan.