Discussions about race and prejudice have never been comfortable or easy. Prejudice, after all, can be subtle, insidious, and even blatant. Ridding ourselves and our communities of prejudice, and healing the wounds it has inflicted, requires heroic efforts. Examining your feelings and putting them on the table is one of the best ways to make a difference for yourself, your family, and community and, ultimately, the nation.
Oportunities to do so were designed by the Amistad to Boston Host Committee during the Amistad's visit, and Conference churches are encouraged to continue hosting these conversations.
A Courageous Example
Those who step forward to assist in this process by hosting and/or participating in a "Neighborhood Conversation on Race: A Talk Worth Having," will provide a courageous example to neighbors and fellow citizens locally and nationally.
What is required?
Hosts are asked to invite their immediate neighbors from nearby homes. This is not the time to engage friends who are not neighbors, or only those who you know share similar views. The idea is to get people with various interests to engage in conversations on race and unity. We, thereby, hope to expand the breadth of conversation and reflection on this vital and challenging issue.
Hosts will agree to guide and moderate five conversations -- ideally over the course of five weeks -- with these neighbors. Participants will be guided by the booklet: Handbook for Hosting a "Neighborhood Conversation on Race: A Talk Worth Having," which is revised from the Handbook for Neighborhood Race Unity Dialogues developed in 1998 by the National Spiritual Assembly of Bahaíis of the United States.
At the fifth and final conversation, participants will be invited to move from talk to action: to take some action together, no matter how small, of their own design.
Summon the Courage to Act
As individuals summon the courage to act by convening and serving as a "Host" for a Neighborhood Conversation on Race, they will not be alone. In the weeks and months to come, many others will step forward, collectively representing a potent force and rendering a vital service to our communities. To engage in this effort is to prepare human hearts for the healing that can occur when such efforts are carried out with sincerity, love and faith.
Also as individuals reflect on stepping up to host and/or participate in a Neighborhood Conversation on Race, it not only brings to practice your spiritual and/or moral beliefs, but is also a patriotic act to give real meaning to the principle expressed in the motto and seal of the United States of America: "E Pluribus Unum -- Out of Many, One."