One Human Race, the successful racial reconciliation workshop implemented in the Austin area for the past five years, is now expanding to other areas with support from EHF.
In 2019, Project Curate, on behalf of EHF, surveyed Episcopal Diocese of Texas congregations to learn about their racial reconciliation efforts in progress and to gauge interest from congregations in learning more about racial reconciliation.
As churches desire to engage in racial justice education, One Human Race is now positioned to respond with a one-day training across the diocese. Grace Episcopal Church in Houston hosted the workshop in November with participants from five Houston and Galveston congregations. Other congregations are expressing curiosity too.
EHF reached out to Teresa Chang, member of the executive team and co-creator of the curriculum to share more about One Human Race and their journey of bringing the workshop to the wider diocesan community.
The One Human Race Initiative has been providing free racial reconciliation workshops since 2014. Our organization grew organically out of the experience of St. James’ Episcopal Church, whose historically African American congregation made a decision to embrace radical hospitality. The makeup of the congregation changed, and the community struggled to maintain its African American heritage and to integrate white people without disenfranchising people of color. The congregation needed ways to learn together and listen to one another’s experiences. Our workshop developed from this effort.
The philosophy behind the One Human Race workshops is that conversations about race should not be divisive; instead they should help us to recognize our unity and fill us with purpose. After all, however different our experiences, we are all members of a single human race. We all share and are shaped by a history of profound injustice based on appearance and ethnicity. We all have biases, and we are all on a journey of understanding and growth.
From St. James’ the workshop moved out to serve the Austin area. Now, thanks to support from the Episcopal Health Foundation and a Becoming Beloved Community grant from the Episcopal Church of America, we’re taking the One Human Race workshop on the road to other Texas cities.
The One Human Race workshop strives to provide a safe, open, and productive environment to learn and share about race. We use the PBS documentary Race: The Power of an Illusion and concepts from the works of The Rev. Eric Law and Robin DiAngelo. Watching the documentary together establishes a foundation of shared facts, moderated small group sharing builds community and understanding, and presentations on the concepts of culture, ethnocentricity, white privilege and white fragility provide tools to use in participants’ own communities. After the workshop, participants are invited to join our private Facebook group so the community we’ve built together can continue.
We are always humbled by our participants’ openness and vulnerability. Again and again, they demonstrate the common human traits of caring, curiosity, and humor. We are grateful that so many people have already joined us on our journey, and we’re excited to expand our ministry beyond Austin!
For additional information on all racial justice/reconciliation work supported by EHF, contact Eric Moen.