Strategies for Ending Racism-Podcast , Worth a Listen

Strategies for Ending Racism Podcast , Worth Listening to

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Held at OMSC, Great Commission Hall
490 Prospect Street, New Haven
Sponsored by OMSC and its Spirituality and Public Affairs Network

The Topic
Despite years of efforts to overcome systemic discrimination in the United States, the scourge of racism is still present in our towns, cities, institutions, and churches. Tragedies such as what transpired recently in Ferguson, Missouri, and in New York City comprise only the tip of the iceberg that is racism today. Every day many African-Americans, Latinos, and other minorities encounter discrimination and marginalization. In both subtle and obtrusive ways, some of which seem on the surface to be politically correct responses to social conflicts, discrimination occurs in educational, economic, religious, and political spheres of society. In this Community Ministries Forum, OMSC executive director J. Nelson Jennings, the panel’s moderator, aims to bring together people who have encountered racism—either by being the focus of rebuke or by trying to fight it systemically. The forum is planned to facilitate open discussion about the topic and seek an array of strategies that might combat racism in all its varied forms.
The Panelists
Enola G. Aird, founder and president of Community Healing Network is a lawyer, activist, and mother. She received a law degree from Yale University, where she chaired the Yale Moot Court of Appeals. After years of corporate law practice, she decided to devote her time to her children and learned first-hand the extent to which mothering is devalued in American culture. These experiences gave Aird a new purpose: to “help create a world in which little Black boys and girls love what they see when they look in the mirror and are completely free to reach their full potential.” Aird has served as chair of the Connecticut Commission on Children and worked for the Children’s Defense Fund, leading its violence prevention program and serving as acting director of its Black Community Crusade for Children. She lives in Cheshire, Connecticut, with her children and husband, Yale Law professor and novelist Stephen L. Carter. The Community Healing Network describes itself as a “grassroots movement for the emotional emancipation of Black people” and to “mobilize Black people to overcome the lie of Black inferiority and the emotional legacies of enslavement and racism so that we can all reach our full potential.”
Rev. Keith King is pastor of Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church, Hamden, Connecticut. He received a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center and a Master of Theology from Andover-Newton Theological School. Upon completion of law school, he entered the United States Marine Corps as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer, for which he was awarded a Naval Achievement Medal by the Secretary of the Navy. He ended active duty service as a captain and was admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Court, of Connecticut, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. For more than two decades, King was an assistant United States attorney for the District of Connecticut. Working in the criminal division, he prosecuted white-collar and violent crimes and handled civil rights cases. He spearheaded Project Sentry, which reaches out to juveniles in an effort to deter juvenile gun crime. King, who “believes only the power of God can bring about real transformation,” launched the Clergy Ambassador’s Program to formalize relationships between clergy and law enforcement, an effort that can reduce crime and improve the quality of life in the community. He retired from his work as a prosecutor in 2013 to focus on ministry.
James Padilla DeBorst is director of the Costa Rica-based Center for Interdisciplinary Theological Studies, which allows “people from all walks of life” without access to traditional seminary education to participate in theological formation for mission. An Ann Arbor, Michigan, native, he and his wife, Ruth, live as members of Casa Adobe, an intentional Christian community in Santa Rosa. The community wants to “be good neighbors, and to live out God’s Kingdom in a concrete way.” Through the Cohort of Missioners, they serve as catalysts for “the creation and consolidation of a learning community” of students, professors, administrators, and others in Latin America who “contextualize a Kingdom worldview, bridge racial and ethnic divides, and connect with local churches for societal transformation.” During the apartheid struggles, Padilla DeBorst led a successful initiative that urged Calvin College to divest its funds in companies that conducted business with South Africa. Later he served for a year as assistant director of the Christian Health Association of Liberia, which put him in touch once again with racial and ethnic issues. James and Ruth, a noted missions conference speaker who is currently the resident senior mission scholar at OMSC, are missionaries with Christian Reformed World Missions.