By Missy Howse-Kurtz

As an out lesbian activist, I felt that there wasn’t that much for me to learn about racism.  I had sensitivity, I knew racism existed, and I knew it was wrong.  Then I joined the ARAOMC committee and then went to an anti racism training. I felt and still feel like I’m a pretty courageous person, often speaking up for the underdog, being willing to state unpopular opinions, having been out since the late eighties and having done many educational panel presentations with GLBT people about our experiences. When I first came to People’s Church, I was excited to see that there was an active anti-racism committee. In my previous church, racial makeup was a big concern at the local and national level. I never understood that the concern was bigger than diversifying our congregation and denomination. This goes beyond reaching out and pulling people into our seats.

However, I found that I have a lifetime of learning ahead of me about antiracism. I thought it was just a matter of getting the right credentials to go out and do the work. I found instead that racism is so pervasive, it infiltrates every aspect of life and society. It is systemic and has a very long recorded history.  It doesn’t just hurt people of color—it hurts all of us. I found that there is more internal work to do, and lots of work to do within white identified communities.

I feel impassioned and excited about the future, knowing that change is slow and takes lots of hard work. it is taking generations to make some progress. I feel motivated to do my small part, and continue to learn what that part might be as time goes on. I’m excited about the future of this work with People’s Church.

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