A Message from ARJ’s Small Group Subcommittee Chair

When my husband and I are in a disagreement that is escalating, he will often kiddingly say to me, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?” This question helps me hear how self-righteous I am sounding and allows me to make a mental course correction to listen and try to understand his perspective.

I think of this often when I’m talking to people about the deepening polarized discussions over whether racism is a problem in our communities and churches. Viewing the world through our own individual lens of lived experiences prevents us from learning what we don’t know that we don’t know about each other.

Jesus said the body is not made up of one part, but of many parts working together in harmony (I Corinthians 12:14). Similarly, we, as individuals, make up a community body that, like an orchestra, harmonizes best when we listen, learn and work together.

One of the ways that Allies for Racial Justice hopes to help individuals deepen their understanding of differing life experiences is to provide opportunities to learn from each other in a small group setting. We just completed six different ARJ small groups lasting 4-5 weeks in April and May. We will have more small groups beginning in late summer and early fall.

Meanwhile, we are planning for an in-person ARJ small group re-union social event in late July or early August where visitors are welcome. We hope you will consider attending to learn more about the wonderful relationships that have developed. Or if your small group would like one of our ARJ facilitators to visit your small group to talk about how you can begin these conversations in your existing small group, just email me, Debra Jarvis, at debraj@visioningvalues.com and we will be glad to support your efforts.

Debra Jarvis
Chair, Small Group Subcomittee

New UMC Podcast Series – “Practicing Anti-Racism”

The United Methodist Church General Commission on Religion & Race debuts a new podcast series, “Expanding the Table,” on Tues., June 1, 2021. Series guests will focus on how individual Christians and church-based entities can and should engage the work of racial justice-making and anti-racism. Read more about it here.

What Does it Take to Combat Hate? Free Webinar

Monday, June 14, 6-7 PM Central

New York Times David Brooks moderates this conversation between a Black race reconciliatory and a former white supremacist on changing hearts & minds. Presented by Common Ground Committee and Bridge Alliance to kick off the National Week of Conversation 2021. Register now for this free Zoom webinar.

09:29 – The Minutes That Moved Kansas City

How has Kansas City changed in the year since George Floyd’s death? If you missed this May 29 retrospective you can watch the replay now. The Kansas City Public Library hosted the 1-hour event as part of a reporting collaboration between 41 Action News and KCUR.

Join St. James Pastor’s Book Study

Wednesday, June 2-30 – Virtual
Learn more on St. James UMC’s website, or buy the book on Amazon

15th Annual Women of Color Leadership Conference
Still, We Rise: Realness and Brilliance in 2021

Friday, June 4, 2021
9am-2:30 pm – Virtual Event

UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion presents this forward-looking opportunity to learn new leadership skills and discover solutions to help deal with the tragedies of the last year.  The program includes national speakers and workshops that address topics of mental health and therapy, resilience, solidarity across groups, and women of color in the criminal justice system. Learn more here.

“Testimony” – African American Artists Collective 
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Opens June 5

Kansas City-based African American Artists participate in this inaugural Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art project celebrating local artists. The exhibit – titled “Testimony” – embodies the power of speaking one’s own truth and of being called to stand in witness. It features the “testimonies” of nearly 40 artists through their paintings, textiles, poems, sculptures, music, film, jewelry, and dance.  For more information visit the Nelson-Atkins website.

Forest Concert Series: The Sounds of Freedom at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Saturday, June 19 – 7-9:30 PM
Gather your ARJ group and head to Bentonville, MO for this Juneteenth celebration exploring the genre of Black protest music. Dee Dee Jones & Spud Howard are featured performers. Learn more about the concert series here.