Equal Opportunity Advocates
Free chili cook off! Fill out the Advocacy Task Force survey click link at the end of this article for a chance to win a free chili cook off meal.Drop Angie an email, and let her know that you filled out the survey (they are anonymous, so we won’t know you did it unless you tell us), and your name may be drawn for a chili cook off meal — either meat or vegetarian — on February 28.The deadline is Wednesday, February 24th, so do it soon so you don’t forget! If you already completed the survey, let Angie know. And if you have already registered for the chili cook off, you can either receive a refund, or assign your free meal to someone else, if you are the winner.
DRAWING WILL BE LIVE ON THE ALL SOULS FACEBOOK GROUP PAGE ON FEB. 25th, 2:30 PM STAY TUNED!
It is highly likely that over time, harm has been done to people of color here at All Souls; probably without conscious intention, but real harm nevertheless, that most of us from the dominant culture had and have no awareness of. Similar kinds of harm have likely been done to queer folks, and those with physical and mental differences.
It is easy for me, as a member of the dominant white privilege culture, to assume that because we aspire to create an anti-oppresive environment, that everything is okay for the marginalized folks around us, unless they tell us that something is having a negative impact for them. It is easy to assume that the mechanisms for offering that message are obvious and accessible, and that we would be ready to hear someone who needed us to know that things were not okay.
It is easy for those assumptions to be wrong; it is easy to do more harm. Part of becoming a more anti-racist community is recognizing that we must be proactive in learning to mitigate and prevent doing more damage to those among us who already suffer from not having white skin, cis/het, conventional mobility privilege. And part of that learning is that we must not expect those folks to be the only ones noticing and naming problems.
As a way of moving beyond that expectation, the All Souls board of trustees is seeking to appoint four Equal Opportunity Advocates, to represent four different dimensions of justice awareness work here in our congregation. Their input will help us to promote a more welcoming and socially conscious church, the Board will appoint Equal Opportunity Advocates (EOAs) for a period of ~2 years, beginning in the spring of 2021.
The advocates will focus on issues internal to All Souls, rather than external issues. For example, the Accessibility Advocate might look at how to make our sidewalk more accessible to those in wheelchairs, but they would not focus on All Souls’ responses to issues in Jefferson City that affect handicapped people. The Advocates are welcome to recruit a partner or set up a task force to help with their projects.
It is our explicit hope not to ask members of marginalized communities to take on these roles as advocates; rather, we hope that privileged folks who want to see positive change for justice in our culture will choose to help us all in this work. Together, we will identify and build a network of consultants and accountability partners who are invited to inform and advise the advocates so that they can function effectively. This is a new initiative in our congregation, so we don’t yet know exactly how it will work, but we do know that we need to find ways to deepen our collective awareness of what it means to have, or not have, various kinds of privilege.
The advocate project has three requests of our fellow All Souls members:
1. We have designed a short survey in order to create a baseline for measuring awareness around issues of identity and privilege. It should take only a few minutes to complete, and we ask everyone to complete the 20 or so questions that it asks.
2. If you are interested in being one of the initial four advocates — for racial issues, gender/sexuality issues, able-ism issues, or environmental issues — or if you can think of someone from All Souls who would be a good fit for one of these roles, please let us know. The survey form has a space for these suggestions.
3. We hope that we will all encourage and support the advocates in their work, and be receptive to their learnings. What they ask us to think about may not always be comfortable to hear, either for them or for the rest of us. If we remember that it has not always been comfortable to be a person of marginalized identity here at All Souls, we should be able to stay centered in the knowledge that we are all in this project together, trying to build the beloved community out of fallible human beings.
Click here to connect to the survey: https://forms.gle/LZUgRy1EDQGPJuNr9
If you have questions about the Advocates program, Roma Lee Taunton or Richard Thompson, or Rev. Kendyl Gibbons, will be glad to talk with you more; be in touch with any one of them. Thank you for all your help and your commitment to growing justice.