Monthly Archives: November 2016

Heart Work; Hard Work: Creating the Beloved Community

Thank you for joining with us in this God-inspired movement, we are calling “Courageous Conversations about Race.”  This movement in Georgetown is young, about two years old, and we are working to establish our footing.  Courageous Conversations is a process or method of engaging in respectful, civil dialogue about difficult issues.  It is a means to an end.

The end is our vision of a beloved community of compassion characterized by cross-cultural communication, collaboration, celebration and courage.

As the convener of this interfaith, multi-ethnic, multi-racial group, I view one of my primary responsibilities is to keep us focused on the ‘big picture.’  I believe, as a movement, we are battling against RACISM, and not against our fellow human beings.

Obviously, that is a complicated matter, because it is human beings who keep RACISM alive and perpetuate its injustices, both individually and institutionally.  Thus, the movement seeks to help individuals confront their bias, prejudices and unjust behavior.  At the same time, the movement must confront the institutional policies, practices, laws, traditions that create and maintain the systems of oppression, where one race is protected as superior and other races are treated as inferior.

I believe that the faith communities in Georgetown have a major role to play in battling RACISM, both individually and institutionally.

The Courageous Conversations movement is grounded in the idea, that ALL human beings are created as ‘God’s beloved children’ and that ALL are to live together in a “Beloved Community” where the core values of human decency and human respect will not tolerate violence, abuse, poverty, and injustice of any kind.  In the Beloved Community, racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. Can we imagine such a community?

The Courageous Conversations movement is guided by the six principles of nonviolence that Dr. Martin Luther King described in his book, Stride Toward Freedom. These principles are rooted in the concept of agape (love), the spontaneous, unselfish, creative force that one human being has for another. It is the love that the Great Commandment describes, ‘love God…and love your neighbor… as you love yourself.’

If you believe in these ideas and want to learn more, we invite you to join us in the process of “Courageous Conversations” as we seek to create the “Beloved Community.”

Ron Swain, CCGTX Convener

CCGTX Working on Plaque for Confederate Memorial Statue

For over two years an interfaith and inter-racial group in Georgetown has been engaging in “Courageous Conversations” about race.

In our efforts to create the kind of “Beloved Community” Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned, we have been working on several initiatives to advance racial reconciliation, address institutional and systemic racism, and to promote education and health care equity, economic justice, public safety and affordable housing.

Williamson County Confederate Memorial Monument
Williamson County Confederate Memorial Monument

One  initiative is an application to the Texas Historical Commission (THC) to have a historical marker placed next to the Confederate monument standing on the south side of the Williamson County Courthouse.

We believe this 1916 monument reflects the era of Jim Crow laws and white supremacy that we no longer endorse in this county.  Our application for the marker beside the Confederate monument seeks to explain the historical context of this monument and to affirm that this symbol of racism from the past stands in contradiction to our values today.

For this application to move forward, the Williamson County Commissioners Court will need to sign a permission form to allow the State of Texas to install such a marker on the Courthouse grounds.

While the Williamson County Courthouse grounds has numerous historical markers and statues, we have encountered widespread resistance in the county and within the Commissioners Court to placing such a marker next to the Confederate monument.

We are soliciting as much support as we can from citizen groups, faith communities, businesses and individuals who believe this symbol of racism needs to be balanced with historical truth. For our position on the statue, please click here.

The Williamson County Commissioners Court has agreed to discuss our request their Nov. 15 meeting at the Williamson County Courthouse building on the square in downtown Georgetown.  The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m.

Please consider attending this meeting and wear your CCGTX t-shirt or white to show your support . And, please contact County Judge Dan Gattis and your County Commissioner to show supporter and encourage them to approve. Click here for a sample letter to send to Commissioners Court members. 

To read the very informative, well-researched application seeking THC’s approval to install a historical marker next to the Confederate monument, please click here.

With appreciation for your consideration of speaking out on racial reconciliation efforts,

Lou Snead, Chair
The Cultural and Historical Advocacy Team
of Courageous Conversations Georgetown