Let’s Talk About Race

It has been a brutal month for African Americans in our country. Have you been
upset, outraged, and saddened to hear about senseless deaths of black people in
our nation? Does it leave you with more questions than answers? Do you want to
know as a white person what you can do about it?

You are invited to join my friend, Denise Ibrahim, and me in an online conversation via Zoom that we are calling, “Let’s talk about race.” We don’t have the answers, but both Denise and I care deeply and personally about this conversation.

The purpose of this conversation is to take baby steps forward of listening and lamenting, understanding and caring, owning and repenting, and solidarity and advocacy in regards to race and racism. 

Facilitators

Reverend Jason Dorsey is a Presbyterian pastor in Redmond, Washington. He spent thirteen years doing ministry in urban Indianapolis. His four children attended Indianapolis Public Schools where they were a minority (72% African American, 12% Hispanic, 8% White, 3% Asian, and 5% Other). His Christian faith, work in the area of Christianity identity, solidarity with the African American community in the public schools and friendships across race, economics and culture gives him a unique perspective on race and racism.

Denise Ibrahim is a counselor at Northwest Skyline Counseling and Biofeedback in Edmonds, WA.  She has been married to her African husband, Yakentim for 19 years and lives in Snohomish County where they are raising their three children.  Her journey into racial reconciliation work began when she saw the effects of racism impact her own family. She is active in her community, cities and public schools, bringing education and awareness about race.

Perspective

This seminar is open to all people. The facilitators lead from the perspective of the Christian faith, the hope that through the grace of Jesus Christ we can repent of the sin of racism, dismantle structures of racism, and reconcile by the blood of Jesus.  

Guidelines

  • We value each other as image bearers: Even though we come together as strangers we share the most crucial thing in common: we are persons made in the image of God, equal, with immense dignity and irrevocable status. We share a profound solidarity as image bearers. We are in this together. 
  • We are committed to grow in our understanding of race and racism: We are not coming from the perspective that we are RIGHT. Rather, we are coming with a teachable and soft heart. We want to learn and grow in our understanding of race and racism. 
  • We will create an emotionally and physically safe space and community. We will treat each other with honor and respect. We will listen to learn, not rebut. We will respect each other’s boundaries and perspectives, ideas and questions. We do not have to agree with each other, but we will do have to create space for each person to be heard. You do not have to hide anger or frustration, sadness, or any other emotion. We will sit with each other in hurt, not fix. There is space for you to be real and vulnerable. Or not talk at all. 
  • We will keep the conversations that we have in this group confidential. We will get permission to share another person’s story or before we share it. 

Sessions

The conversation will take place on Tuesday nights in June, 7:30-8:30pm, Pacific Standard Time: June 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30, 7:30-8:30pm

Session One: Listening and Lamenting (June 2)

Session Two: Understanding and Caring (June 9)

Session Three: Owning and Repenting (June 16)

Session Four: Solidarity and Advocacy (June 23)

Session Five: Practical Steps, where do we go from here. (June 30).

If you’re interested in joining this conversation, please contact me at j.dorsey23@gmail.com.

I asked Denise to share some of the story of how we know each other:

I first met Jason’s wife, Jenny when I was a senior in high school.   She was a friend of my aunt’s who had met each other at a local community college in Northern CA that they were both attending.   The following year, my freshman year and Jenny’s junior year, we both attended the same private Christian college in Oregon.  During my sophomore year of college, Jenny’s then fiance, Jason, had graduated and was studying abroad in Russia.  Jenny was my next door neighbor and RA in the dorm.  We became fast and enduring friends during that year.  At the end of the year I had the honor of standing up as a bridesmaid in their wedding.  

Two years later we both found ourselves living for a short time 45 minutes apart in the Midwest.   Jenny and Jason had just had their first born, Jacob.  I would spent weekends with them sleeping on their couch and holding baby Jacob the entire time.  I like to tease Jason that this is when we really became friends, because he didn’t remember who I was or what my name was until this time even though I had been in their wedding.

Fast forward 5 years later, when I was once again was sleeping on their couch when I moved to Seattle .  This time they had three energetic boys for me to keep up and play with.  I moved to Seattle due to wanting to be closer to my boyfriend, Yakentim at the time.  Eight months after my move I had Jenny stand up in my wedding to Yakentim as a bridesmaid.  Two of her boys were ring bearers and Jason performed part of our wedding ceremony.    

One of my best memories was when Jenny found out she was pregnant with their youngest, Jackie.  As soon as she went into labor, I ran over to their home to grab the boys.  They came back to our home while their sister was being born and we put up our tent in our living room so we could have an indoor sleepover.  

Shortly after Jackie was born, they moved to Indianapolis.  We had the opportunity to visit them once back there and we would see them back in Seattle every few years when they came into town to visit family.  We would still keep up with during the occasional phone calls and best phone call came when Jenny called to say they were moving back to the area.  

Though it still seems we don’t see each other often enough, they are just a quick phone call away and the type of friends where you can just pick up where you left off.

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