This year we have witnessed the deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island, of Michael Brown in Ferguson, and of Akai Gurley in East New York. All three were black men. All three were killed by police. We have seen two of the three police officers involved not indicted for their actions.
At St. Lydia’s, we have dedicated ourselves to an ongoing conversation about race and racism in our country, framed by our relationship to our new neighborhood. We’re asking questions about racial injustice, and how we can be a part of dismantling these systems locally and nationwide.
There are a number of ways to be a part of the movement gathering momentum and power in our country. We made a big list of them for you here. I’m inviting our congregation to focus our collective efforts in four, particular ways as we continue to build our long-term response to racial injustice in our neighborhood and country.
If you’re not currently worshipping with St. Lydia’s, don’t let that stop you. Items 1, 2, and 3 are entirely open for your participation.
1. Show Solidarity on Friday, December 12 or Saturday December 13
Faith in New York is planning an action called “Prayer, Praise, and Peace for Protest: A Prophetic Response to Violence,” on the steps of City Hall on Friday, December 12 at 3:30 pm. The event will be led by MPAC (Mobilizing Preachers and Communities, the PICO National Network, the Children’s Defense Fund and other allies.
A large protest is scheduled for December 13 at 2:00. Anyone who would like to may meet at 304 Bond at 1:00 to head to the protest together. We’ll hang a sign in our window to invite any neighbors to meet and march with us. We’ll also decide on a meeting point near the protest site so that we can all gather together before the protest.
We’ll be making a large sign for our window and signs for the protest this Sunday, December 7 at 5:00 pm, 304 Bond Street
2. Buy All Your Christmas Presents from Black Owned Businesses this year
I’ve challenged the congregation to engage in this practice of economic support and empowerment. Take a look here to learn more and participate.
3. Participate in St. Lydia’s Winter Reading Series on Racial Injustice
Over Christmas, you’re invited to read one of these four books or articles:
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
- “The Case for Reparations,” Ta Nehisi Coates
- The Cross and the Lynching Tree, James Cone
- The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, Khalil Gibran Muhammad
Our community will then gather in January to discuss the books and articles together, sharing about the readings and our discoveries on Wednesday January 21 at 7:00 pm, 304 Bond Street, Brooklyn.
4. Be a part of the Affordable Housing Campaign led by Faith in New York
Faith in New York, the grassroots faith-based organizing group St. Lydia’s has been connecting with, is planning a big push, in collaboration with Real Affordability for All to address the need for affordable housing for all residents of our city. A lack of affordable housing is one of the systemic ways in which low income people are impeded from thriving in our city, and a history of racist housing practices has meant people of color are disproportionately effected. We need to make sure that everyone in our city has access to safe and decent housing.
Faith in New York will be training us to do one-on-ones around affordable housing in our congregation and in our neighborhood this winter. So stay tuned for more information about how to participate in this long term effort to address this issue.