FIA News

Nov 2017
Faith in Action News:

More Than 100 Turn Out for Interactive Panel on Racial Injustice

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On the night of Saturday, November 11th, Faith In Action collaborated with our new friends and community partners from OFA (Organizing For Action) to bring you “An Uncomfortable Truth: Time To Talk About Racial Injustice.” The evening was a great success and exceeded our expectations, with a combined turnout of more than a hundred from our congregation and the wider community packed into the sanctuary to hear from a diverse panel
of experts. Visitors came from all the way across town and as far as Orange County.
 
Topics covered included the challenges of implicit bias, reform of policing and the criminal justice system and, for those of us who are not people of color, how to understand white privilege and be effective allies to Black- and Brown-led justice movements. Powerful stories were shared by the speakers, and some exchanges with an engaged audience became emotional. A few highlights from the panel: Randy Shrewsberry, a former police officer turned reformer, discussed the racist culture in law enforcement into which he had been indoctrinated, and his own struggle to overcome the false narratives he had grown up with. Charles Swain, Esq., a civil rights attorney and the
father of one of OFA’s student organizers, choked up as he related memories of segregated maternity wards in the Alabama of his youth. Donazaleigh Abernathy, the daughter of civil rights pioneer Ralph Abernathy, described memories of Dr. King and her own journey from the deep South to living as a black woman in Beverly Hills, where she continues to face routine discrimination and harassment based on the color of her skin.
 
For the first time, our FIA team put in place a security plan for the evening with input from the new UUSM Safety Task Force and the Santa Monica Police Department. In the last several months, concerns have been raised about newly-energized hate groups in our area and disruptions at other anti-racist events in the neighborhood. Thankfully, the evening went smoothly and without incident.
 
We are excited about the many connections that were forged or strengthened between our congregation and the wider community at this event, and we look forward to new possibilities as FIA continues work to confront and oppose racism in greater LA and beyond!
 
James Witker