Part III: Racism in our Organizations and Institutions
Case Study: The Religious Society of Friends

We will use the Religious Society of Friends as an example of an organization that is struggling to come to terms with the impact of the organization's own racism, on BIPOC community members.

If you have five minutes...

Read this article by George Elliott in materials for the American Friends Service Committee:

 Already, but not yet: Co-creating the Beloved Community


How do we participate in collective liberation from these evils? Our work is three-fold:

Decolonizing the self – We engage in the ongoing process of transforming the poison of our imperial, oppressive society into medicine. We learn about our country’s oppressive past and present, acknowledging our relationship to the matrix of domination, grounding our sense of self in non-colonial identities. We rediscover an Inner Light/Spirit that cannot be colonized, embracing liberation histories, realities, and theologies, and finding the courage to do the work that is ours to do.

Decolonizing our communities – We engage in the ongoing process of healing together with like-minded, like-hearted souls, always widening the circle, inviting people in, and transforming our communities. We move from explicitly or tacitly supporting systems of domination to actively healing from their negative effects and supporting alternatives and movements led by communities most impacted by injustice. This has powerful implications for our Quaker community that played such an active part (whether intentionally or unintentionally) in colonizing this land.

Co-creating the Beloved Community – We engage in the ongoing process of re-building our relationship to all of life around us, fostering trust and accountability with communities most impacted by injustice. To accomplish this we commit to accompaniment and followership, staying in it for the long haul, getting out of our meetinghouses and our comfort zones, and co-creating the Beloved Community in ways that de-center whiteness.

Watch this video from QuakerSpeak by Friends Journal.

Questions for Conversation and Journaling

  • In the video above, Vanessa Julye says that “White supremacy is restricting our way of creating a blessed community because it is making it difficult for people of color to be a part of the community.” How can you imagine that your organization or faith community could change to be more accessible for people of color?
  • Part of white supremacy culture, Vanessa says, is “its invisibility to European-Americans in this country, because if you don’t see a structure and feel that that is normal, then there’s no need to change it.” What would it take for European-Americans to peel back the veil and what changes would happen if they could see what Vanessa is talking about?