Our breath is our life-force, but the air we breathe can restore our life or kill us. We are living in a world where the sins of racism infect the very air we breathe; killing many, sickening us all. What happens when we pay attention to how much breath we give to scarcity, competition, and fear? What happens when we choose to focus our breath on giving oxygen to liberate our imaginations for a world where the air is full of abundance, hope, and equity?

At More Light we have been in an ongoing journey to uncover our own entanglement with the dominant norms of whiteness and the ways in which those norms infiltrate every facet of our lives. We invite you to join us – to breathe with us, and engage in the difficult work of uncovering systems of power, domination, and oppression at work within us all, so we may work together for our collective liberation.

This Teach-In Series equips folks with the tools to begin doing just that. In our three-part series, we address the ways in which systemic racism and white supremacy function, how to address internalized dominance and white fragility, and how to take action in our congregations and communities to decenter whiteness and integrate racial justice tactics in our ministries.

Teach-Ins FAQ

Series Trainer: Jessica Vazquez Torres (she/her/hers)

We are delighted to have Jessica Vazquez Torres as our series trainer throughout this conversation. Jessica is the National Program Coordinator for Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing and Training.A native of Puerto Rico, Jessica identifies as a “1.5 generation Queer ESL Latina of Puerto Rican descent.” From 1999 until the Spring of 2006 Jessica worked in the Office of [Racial] Reconciliation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indianapolis, IN. From 2006 to 2008 she worked as National Religious Outreach Coordinator with Interfaith Worker Justice, and from 2008 to 2010 as Director of Master Level Recruitment and Admissions at McCormick Theological Seminary (both in Chicago, IL). Currently, Jessica is working on a Masters of Theological Studies at the Chandler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. When not studying she works as a consultant and core/organizer trainer for Crossroads. Rev. Vazquez Torres holds a BA in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL and a Masters of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN.

Part 1 – Defining Racism and White Supremacy

  • Define racism and white supremacy
  • Discuss the ways in which white supremacy shows up in our everyday contexts, and distinguish white supremacy from projected notions of racism
  • Connect the ways in which race and gender are linked, and why it is essential that conversations about gender are also conversations about racism. Learn more.

 

Part 2 – Engaging White Fragility

    • Define white fragility and identify how it shows up in conversations about racial justice
    • Look at how white fragility can be triggered even when we aren’t discussing race
    • Discuss ways to engage our own fragility and that of the people with whom we are working. Learn more.

 

Part 3: Decentering Whiteness

  • Distinguish between decentering whiteness and white silence
  • Discuss the ways white supremacy appears in spaces even when no white people are present
  • Offer a theological praxis for working to dismantle systems that uphold white supremacy and division. Learn more.