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Shared stories, shared understanding

Shared stories, shared understanding
Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

By Jessica Brodie

I’m thrilled to announce with this month’s editorial column that the Advocate will continue another 10 months with something that has been one of my personal favorite projects since I became editor six-and-a-half years ago: our South Carolina Stories of Racial Awakening Project.

An anonymous donor who, like me, has a passion for racial dialogue and awareness has generously agreed to fund another cycle of the narratives in the hopes that they will help bridge new understanding when it comes to race.

So with great joy I issue our call for submissions for Round Two of the South Carolina Stories of Racial Awakening Project. Stories selected for publication will receive $50 each. We will select up to 10 narratives to be published in the Advocate, one a month for 10 months. (See guidelines, Page 5.)

Submissions are welcome from anyone in the conference: lay or clergy, man or woman, adult or youth, any race, any ethnic group. The narratives can address racial awakening along any line—Latino toward African American, African American toward Caucasian, Caucasian toward Latino, Native American toward Asian, etc.

I’ve learned a lot from reading the first 10 narratives (you can read them all here). Jumping out at me looking them over now is something the Rev. Drew Martin, pastor of Lebanon United Methodist Church, Eastover, wrote in Narrative 6, “Racism is a Human Problem.” Martin noted, “Instead of asking ourselves, ‘Am I racist,’ we need to be asking, ‘In what ways am I racist?’ What lies do I tell myself that prop up the myth of my objectivity? What do I believe that is actually propaganda? It is helpful to note that even the KKK does not think of themselves as racist. They think of themselves as right.”

By reading—and sharing our stories—it is my hope that learning others’ perspectives will bring about unity and Christian love and, ultimately, shine light on new ways our society can walk toward racial healing and understanding for a better future.

When the series is done in November, we will produce a booklet with all 20 narratives that local churches can use as a resource for navigating racial dialogue of their own.

I look forward to reading your story. Submissions should be 500-1,000 words. Email me at jbrodie@umcsc.org.

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