West Bay Presbyterians from 13 different churches and organizations in the Region gathered by Zoom on November 16, 2020 to share what they and their congregations are doing to end racial injustice and inequity, as well as brainstorm ideas of what they can do individually and collectively as Presbyterians on antiracism, i.e. actively working to end structural racism. The meeting was organized by Jeanne Choy Tate (Member, Noe Valley Ministry), Mary Jane Gordon (Presbytery Co-Moderator and Commissioned Ruling Elder, Ingleside Presbyterian Church), Ginger Smyly (Chair, Tri-Presbytery Self Development of People Committee) and Lori Yamauchi (Ruling Elder, Old First Presbyterian Church).
The meeting was initiated following a West Bay Region Fund Your Vision meeting, at which the Region adopted a proposal to challenge congregations to work together on systemic change to end racial injustice and inequity, as well as added a funding category in the Fund Your Vision Program of the Region for proposals designed to effect systemic change to dismantle structural racism.
The churches represented were a mix of large and small congregations, who are engaged in different ways to learn about structural racism and antiracism work. Some participants spoke to the need for greater self-awareness, as well as the need to understand the systemic racism in which we are a part. To that end, some congregations are engaged in education and book/video/podcast discussions, while others have made public statements, either through social media or with banners, about their desire to be faithful allies of Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC). Still others have formed racial justice or Black Lives Matter groups, or are participating in Presbytery-wide or PC(USA) events on antiracism and racial justice, or surveying their members on their willingness to engage in antiracist work.
Acknowledging fears and concerns about antiracism work in their churches and communities, participants also shared their hopes and joys, including being encouraged by how our siblings in Christ want to work toward antiracism, including in predominantly white congregations.
All West Bay Presbyterians and their congregations are invited to participate in future meetings.