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