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. One issue per month will be a deep dive into a particular issue (you can find links to these at the end of the newsletter). The alternating issues (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!
From: The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness, by Rhonda V. Magee (p.20-21)
So let's pause together and reflect: What is racial justice?
The heart of what I mean by racial justice is guided, first, by Dr. King's notion of justice--"power correcting everything which stands against love." Racial justice, then, is about taking actions against racism and in favor of liberation, inspired by love of all humanity, including actions at the personal, interpersonal and collective levels.
Why might it be appropriate to consider engaging in racial justice as an aspect of living mindfully?
The short and simple answer is that racial justice, like compassion, is just one form of an ethically grounded, mindful response to suffering in our lives. Moreover, mindful racial justice seeks to alleviate not merely isolated incidents of racial suffering, but all suffering caused by racism--including suffering that is very hard to see. This necessarily presents a profound invitation to a life-long practice of awakening that seeks greater liberation and justice for all. Racial justice cannot exist apart from the effort to alleviate the socially constructed, unevenly distributed suffering of all marginalized people, or what I would call "social justice." And social justice cannot exist apart from racial justice.
"...how do you first become aware of unconscious biases that impact how you perceive others, and then check your biases so they don’t influence your behavior in ways that are unfair or harmful? Uncovering bias is an ongoing journey and won’t happen overnight. It’s also not a destination, because biases accumulate over the course of your life and you must continuously work to uncover them. However, there are steps you can take to start better mitigating your own biases...
Commit To Growing Awareness. “It starts with a personal commitment,” says Kay Formanek (author of the book Beyond D&I: Leading Diversity with Purpose and Inclusion.) “One of the most important things for any person to do to start confronting bias is to express their intent, such as saying, ‘I would like to become more aware of my own bias so that I can mitigate bias in me and within my organization.’”
Ask For Feedback. Asking for feedback shows you are aware that you have bias and want to take action to minimize its impact. In a Deloitte study of the top traits that make an inclusive leader, ‘cognizance of bias’ was a key trait, where “inclusive leaders are mindful of personal and organizational blind spots, and self-regulate to help ensure ‘fair play.’” Feedback can help bring unconscious bias to light, because you can’t change something that you aren’t aware exists.
Plan Ahead. If bias is a habit in your way of thinking that influences behavior, it calls for forming new habits when you’ve uncovered biases that may be unintentionally harmful. In order to form a new habit, it’s key to become aware of triggers that prompt you to think or behave in certain ways, and then do something called “pre-thinking,” where you plan your desired response ahead of time so you’re ready to act on it when a trigger arises.
Understand That Bias Is Systemic and Intergenerational. “Bias is both personal and passed on by generation, and it's also created and reinforced by our institutions and systems,” says Formanek. “When it comes to unconscious bias training, individuals do have the power to create change, but they're part of a larger system. So we have to change the systems and the institutions that we operate within as well.”
A person has as their end what they love above all; they have it in view in every single thing. It resides in their will like the hidden current of a river which draws them to itself and carries them away, even when they are engaged in some other activity; for it is what motivates them. Such motivation is what one person looks for and also sees in another; and depending on what they see they then either take the lead with them or join them in what they do.
FROM THE SPIRIT
Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.
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.