Racism impacts health.
Stigma, inequalities and civil rights injustices remain in our society today. Unfortunately, even now, skin color plays a large part in how people are viewed, valued and treated. Racism, both intentional and unintentional, affects the health and well-being of individuals and communities and stifles the opportunities of many to contribute fully to the future and growth of this nation.
“Racism is a cancer which continues to eat away at the very soul of America and we don’t know what to do about it.”
Throughout the month of October, EHF will again sponsor a “Traces of the Trade” tour to screen the documentary film “Traces of the Trade” and a have facilitated dialogue. This tour will serve churches and communities interested in exploring racial reconciliation. Churches are encouraged to include community partners in this opportunity to deepen relationships and together create courageous spaces for all voices to be heard.
For more than 15 years, Constance and Dain Perry (who is in the film), have traveled the country utilizing the film as a starting point for churches and community groups to foster conversation and share stories. The Perry’s mission is to break down the barriers around us with words and stories spoken in relationship.
“We believe that by listening to the stories of others with our hearts and with our humanity in a way that is not threatening, not about debate, not about shaming or placing blame, that we can in fact begin to engage in a conversation and learn from each other,” Constance Perry said. “We invite people to open their minds and their hearts and to share their lives in a safe non-threatening way.”
Constance and Dain Perry at General Convention in Austin
“Traces” is a transparent and vulnerable view into the story of the DeWolfe family as they research and explore the unsettling truth of their ancestors being the foremost slave traders in U.S. history. We walk alongside the DeWolfe family listening in on their journey, sharing in their stories and experiences. Viewing the film in a group setting allows it to become a third voice that invites people into the conversation.
The Emmy-nominated film for historical research concisely uncovers and communicates a side of U.S. history previously untold. Dain makes the point that knowing our history is critical in how we move forward.
“Until we talk about the issue of race and racism and until we learn how it came about in this country and how it is affecting people today in such terribly negative ways, we’ll never succeed in overcoming racism,” he says.
This invitation to gather for dinner, movie and dialogue is a rich opportunity to move in a positive direction together, not alone. Constance, a professional educator and facilitator, emphasizes the importance of including everyone.
“The more diverse the audience is the more we are truly listening to each other, not just with our ears, but with our hearts and our humanity in a non-threatening way,” she says. “We can maybe begin to understand the challenges we all face and agree that we have work to do. But it’s through these conversations that we develop knowledge, that we begin to build trust and begin to build community so that together we can begin to break down the walls of racism.”
The Traces of the Trade Tour dates are
October 12 – 24, 2018
If your congregation would like to host a screening and dialogue, please contact Eric Moen, EHF congregational engagement offcer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EHF offers resources and assistance to all Episcopal congregations in the Diocese of Texas interested in developing a strategic plan for Racial Reconciliation.
All Racial Reconciliation work at EHF is coordinated in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and connected to the Province VII Anti-Racism network.