Hi everyone. This newsletter is for Swedenborgians (and friends) who want to learn how to support anti-racism. But we are not going to pretend that we are experts here; we are learning alongside you. There are lots of activists and educators who have been working in the anti-racism field for a long time. Our plan (in the words of Meera Mohan-Graham) is to Absorb and Amplify those voices, and follow their lead.
As we all strive to learn, change, and act together, we invite you join the Manifold Angels Facebook group for connection throughout the journey. The work is just beginning. If you would like to be added to the email list, please contact email@example.com
This is an (approximately) bi-weekly newsletter, though the schedule may change occasionally. Some editions will be a deep dive into a particular issue (you can find links to these at the end of the newsletter). Other editions (like this one) will be more personal/devotional, aiming to help build stamina and commitment for the ongoing work for racial justice. Thanks for joining us!
"Marshall lives in west Jackson, in the US state of Mississippi - a predominantly black and poor part of the city. He has no choice but to drink the tap water that Jackson residents have been told to avoid. When he turns the tap on - the water runs brown.
He says it's been like this for about eight months and he has no choice but to drink it.
"Yes ma'am. I been drinking it." He smiles when we ask whether it worries him. "I turn 70 later this month," he says.
Marshall doesn't have a car, so he can't get to the sites where water is being handed out by the National Guard. He also doesn't have electricity or gas because of a recent fire in the house next door, which means he can't boil the water to help make it safer.
"Very seldom it's pure. Sometimes it's a little lighter, a little darker. In the bath tub when I first turn it on, it always comes out rust, then it gets lighter. But every time, the rust comes first."...
...In 2020, when freezing temperatures caused Jackson's water treatment facility to shut down, [Jackson Councilman Aaron] Banks says his district went without water for nearly six weeks - far longer than the surrounding areas. The town's infrastructure has struggled to keep up ever since...
..."We have a water treatment facility that's obsolete that nobody has thought about for years," says Professor Edmund Merem, an urban planning and environmental studies professor at Jackson State University.
"I think the problem is that the reaction tends to be ad hoc."
But Prof Merem also believes another factor has pulled focus and funding away from the Jackson's crumbling infrastructure - race.
"This is a deep seated, decades-long, in the making kind of situation," says Arielle King, a lawyer and environmental justice advocate.
"I think the history of racial segregation and redlining in this country have deeply contributed to the environmental injustices we see right now."...
...We met Imani Olugbala-Aziz at a local community centre where she and others from the volunteer group Cooperation Jackson were handing out bottled water. It took less than an hour for them to run out. She tells us she barely has water at her own home.
"It's a crisis of views and values and there's a lot of environmental racism going on. We are sending our money to the government to get what needs to be done, done. And they're not doing it.
"We're underserved. People of colour are underserved. We stay in the worst parts of town, just so we can survive.
"We're not asking for mansions, we just want to live and have the normal stuff, running water, clean water," Ms Olugbala-Aziz says."
"I went to church thinking it would be like an epidural, that it would take the pain away....But church isn't like an epidural; it's like a midwife...I thought faith would say "I'll take away the pain and discomfort," but what it ended up saying was "I'll sit with you in it."
A NEW WORKSHOP!
Swedenborgians in Action Against Racism in partnership with the Friends Committee on National Legislation present:
Friends in Unlikely Places: Engaging With Those Who Don't Agree With You
On Monday, October 17th
This workshop uses research and approaches from the field of moral reframing to teach a framework for engaged and open conversations between people who hold different views: Ask, Listen, Affirm and Reframe. Presented in an advocacy context based on FCNL’s mission, these approaches also work well in inter-personal relationships.
Free on Zoom! You MUST register in order to get the Zoom Link!
'Whose anguish of soul we saw' means the state of the internal in regard to good, once it was alienated. This is clear from the meaning of 'anguish of soul' as the state which the soul passes through when it is alienated from the external. The nature of this state is as follows: The Lord comes to a person constantly, bringing good to them, and also truth within that good; but the person either accepts this or does not accept it. If they accept it, all is well with them; but if they do not, all is ill. If, while not accepting it, they feel worried, described here as 'anguish of soul', the hope exists that they can be reformed; but if they have no such feeling, the hope disappears.
 If therefore a person when they incline to evils feels at all disturbed when they reflect on an evil deed they have committed, this is a sign that they will nevertheless accept what flows into them from heaven through the angels. It is also a sign that subsequently they will allow themself to be reformed...
For with people who feel disturbed during this state, an internal recognition of evil is present; and when the Lord calls that recognition to mind, it becomes confession and finally penitence.
FROM THE SPIRIT
O God, gladly we live and move and have our being in you.
Yet always in the midst of this creation-glory,
we see sin's shadow and feel death's darkness:
around us in the earth, sea and sky, the abuse of matter;
beside us in the broken, the hungry and the poor,
the betrayal of one another;
and often, deep within us, a striving against your Spirit.
O Trinity of love,
forgive us that we may forgive one another,
heal us that we may be people of healing,
and renew us that we also may be makers of peace. AMEN.
Just a note: the various viewpoints included in these newsletters (either by authors of content or the organizations they represent) do not necessarily represent the viewpoint or position of the Swedenborgian Church of North America (SCNA). The editors present them in the spirit of learning and reflection.