Dear people of St. James, friends, and community,
A few months ago, I spoke with Brian Keith and asked him if he would help plan Black History Month at St. James. He immediately said “yes”! We had an honest conversation about how we needed his guidance as to what we can do about racism, equality, his impressions of current events, and for him to share his heart with us. The following books, podcasts, and documentaries are Brian’s recommendations for us to explore equality from a Black perspective. Brian has also written his own Prayers of the People that will be featured this Sunday; the following three Sundays’ prayers are focused on diversity.
I asked Brian “What can we do to attract more families of color? His answer was “Make St. James a safe place to attend” by showing hospitality, hosting events, and making education available to the community. I promised Brian that St. James will do exactly that. Please join Brian and me as we celebrate Black History Month!
“Race: The Power of an Illusion: Episode 3: The House We Live In,” from Session 7 of Sacred Ground (if you need a password to this page, email us and we will send it to you).
“Why police aggression is far more pronounced against left-leaning protesters”: A video podcast from FiveThirty Eight.com’s Galen Druke, recommended by former president Barack Obama: https://abcn.ws/3qfBw6D
Books for Adults
by Daniel Hunter
by Ijeoma Oluo
Some might say this is too “raw” for our St. James congregation. Honestly, I think this is the only way to make change is to show people the “unfiltered” reality of racism. When we dumb it down and cajole the issue, we are only exacerbating the problem.
by Tim Wise
by Tim Wise
by Tim Wise
A memoir by Shonda Buchanan.
This was a particularly emotional read for me as the author shared her similar experiences of growing up as a woman of African American and Native American decent in the South and never really feeling like she truly belonged to either culture. This was very similar to my mom’s heritage and her experience growing up as a mixed-race child in North Carolina.
by Jennifer Harvey
by Trevor Noah
by Kamala Harris
by Barack Obama
by Michelle Obama
Books for Children
by Meena Harris
by Kelly Dipucchio
This was always one of our favorites . . . but it even became more meaningful this year in teaching our girls about the democratic process and the Electoral College process with this year’s historic election. A must for all children to read, for sure.
by Lupita Nyong’o
This one makes me cry every time I read it with the girls. It’s about the importance of self-love for black girls, developing a strong self-identity, and loving the color of your skin in a racist society. The illustrations are done by Vashti Harrison, who is amazing and is one of our favorite artists.
by Nikki Giovanni
by Kadir Nelson
Another one of my favorites to read with the kids. This book focuses on some of the untold stories of African American heroes and legends, many of which we have never heard of because they are not a part of our “school curriculum” on African American history. True story—a few weeks ago, one of the girls’ teachers asked the students in their third-grade class, “Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.?” One kid answered, “He freed the slaves for Black people.” This is an unacceptable answer . . . but this shows how ignorant our kids are becoming to Black history and African American culture in this country.
by Aaron Levy Samuels
by Langston Hughes
by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
This is a great collection of three graphic novels depicting the unbelievable work and life of Congressman John Lewis and many other Civil Rights legends. The stories are amazing, and the artwork is beautiful.