I am writing this specifically for my congregants at Trinity Lutheran Church in Nampa, Idaho. Anyone who knows how to do a search on the internet can find a list of articles or books to read, films to watch, or pieces to listen to which will help them live into the current moment and better understand systemic racism and white supremacy.
I have tried to identify when my own journey began. I am embarrassed to say that although many books, conversations, and relationships shaped me and planted seeds, it was not until Ferguson that I sensed that the Civil Rights Movement had not solved as much as I had been told and that, as important, laws passed then had been chipped away at in the following years. What’s more, as a white person, I benefited from the lack of progress in ways I did not even understand.
I have not arrived. My personal work is far from over. There are new voices I need to read and more conversations I need to have. But I have done some work and I shepherd a flock of people who are at all different stages on this journey, but might be curious about recommendations from their pastor. Here are just a few great ones:
Waking Up White by Debbie Irving – This book does not make all the lists online right now but I found I liked how Irving told her story, a story I related to, and what she taught me. I think a lot of my parishioners would appreciate this very accessible book as a starting place.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson – This is Stevenson’s memoir about starting the Equal Justice Initiative and getting innocent African Americans off of death row. But it is so much more. The film adaptation is good and has been made free online right now. Stevenson read for the audio version of the book. Trinity’s morning study group read this last summer, so there are paperback copies around, just ask me. Stevenson’s Ted Talk is also worth your time. And this past week, Stevenson was interviewed on NBC Nightly News.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Coates is a beautiful writer and this is such an important read. If you have been putting off reading this book, now is the time to pick it up. He was just interviewed on the Ezra Klein Show if you want to listen to him.
Los Dos Mundos by Richard Baker – A little dated (written in 1995) but still relevant, this is an ethnographic study of Canyon County. This book is available locally through our library.
Selma feature film, directed by Ava Duvernay
13th documentary, also directed by Ava Duvernay
I do not like to recommend books I have not yet read, but here are two that were suggested during Trinity Lutheran’s Zoom Fellowship Time May 31, 2020.
A high school English teacher uses The Hate U Give in her classes.
A college religion professor uses I Bring the Voices of My People in her classes.
Finally, a friend in youth ministry included this helpful article in her weekly email, “Talking About Race and Racism with Children.” A list of additional resources is part of the article.