Racial Justice Initiative
Spurred by heightened racial turmoil, ASC was challenged to examine its position regarding racism. The following statement, recommended by the Racial Justice Committee, was approved by the Board at its May 2021 meeting.
"ASC is committed to teaching and learning about racism, in an effort to root out unconscious bias in ourselves and to combat systemic racism in our society. To this end, ASC will continue its long tradition of offering relevant courses and will seek to present events, speakers, and discussion groups which will move us toward racial equity."
As part of its work in the spring of 2021, the Racial Justice Committee has proposed and is forming a Racial Justice Book Group that will begin meeting in the fall of 2021. In addition, the group has compiled a suggested reading list – see below – that will be updated from time to time.
Racial Justice Book Group Forming
A new Racial Justice Book Group is forming and will begin meeting once a month in person in the fall. The basic aim of the group is to stimulate discussion of how we are a part of the underlying systemic racism in our country, how we can enlighten ourselves, and how new understanding may lead to change. The first two basic readings will be Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist and Heather McGhee’s The Sum of Us. Read more about the book group...
Those interested in joining the group(s) can contact Ellen Dohmen at RJBG2021@gmail.com.
Suggested Book List
The books on this list were recommended by members of the committee and it is their hope that the list will evolve over time, and inspire all of us to expand our understanding of systemic racism. Download a PDF of this book list.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson
The Children, David Halberstam
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life, Ashley Bryan
Caste, Isabel Wilkerson
Explores the origins of racial discrimination in the US and abroad and considers the deep roots of injustice in our society.
The Hate You Give, Angie Thomas
Expands understanding of being black in America.
Me and White Supremacy, Layla F. Saad
Challenges the reader to do the essential work of unpacking biases and helps white people take action.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley
Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson
Novel in verse describing growing up in SC and NYC.
White Too Long, Robert Jones
Makes the case that racism and white supremacy are an essential, ongoing element – if not the predominant ideology – of grassroots, white evangelicalism, both historical and contemporary.
The Fire Is Upon Us, Nicholas Buccola
The parallel, sometimes intersecting lives of James Baldwin and William Buckley on the way to their 1965 Cambridge University debate, “The American Dream Is at the Expense of the American Negro.”
How the South Won the Civil War, Heather Cox Richardson
Influence of a white oligarchy and competing claims of equality and subordination woven into the fabric of American life before and after the Civil War with particular attention to the postwar influence of the west.
Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin
Non-fiction story of a white man who colors his skin and travels through the South.
The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson
The story of massive south to north migration of the black population.
The Hemingses of Monticello, Annette Gordon Reed
About Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings.
One Goal by Amy Bass
A sports related narrative and in-depth view of what it is to be an immigrant, black and poor, One Goal is about the Somali community in Lewiston and the Somali young boys/men who go out for the soccer team. It examines their struggles to be accepted, to follow their own traditions of the most popular sport in the world, and their effect on the community.
Carry On by Lisa Fenn
Carry On, another sports related narrative, is about two young, poor and handicapped boys/men from Baltimore and how they create a family for each other, physically support one another, and survive a drug, poor and abandoned inner-city world.
The Sum of Us, Heather McGhee
McGhee points out and documents clearly that, in fact, the grievance-filled true believers (people who feel undervalued by liberals and threatened by people of color), are voting against their own economic and social interests, because systemic racism limits opportunity for everyone but the well off.
The Great Work: Our Way into the Future, Thomas Berry
Among other things, Berry is an ecological and spiritually oriented writer. As he says, our main task is to become reattuned to the natural world and with that to the dignity of all life – human and otherwise. He is a powerful and compelling writer.