The mission of the Racial Reconciliation Task Force (RRTF) is to speak out against all forms of racism. We prayerfully help lead our congregation on a journey of awareness, repentance, relationship, prayer, and commitment to action, helping us to grow together and reconcile with one another.
The RRTF was formed in July 2020 at the request of members of the congregation who expressed a desire to explore Biblical justice — seeking God’s heart and character in our motivation to pursue equality, redemption, and restoration for all God’s children — and our response to racism as a family of Believers.
Founding Team: Betsy Bond, Pamela Bradley, Connie Lewin, Lea Smith, Tim Tien, Ray Villegas.
Current Team: Betsy Bond, Donna Daley, Erin Gilbreth, Gail Reinsmith.
The RRTF team can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
COURSES & RESOURCES
The Racial Reconciliation Task Force is committed to the unity to which Jesus called the church (John 17:20-26). We are dedicated to the ongoing study and encouragement of the spiritual development of leadership towards the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). We engage in discussions with the elders and other church leadership regarding opportunities for racial reconciliation in addition to leading church-wide actions and responses to racism.
Quest 1 is a 6-week program crafted by RRTF that features discussions centered around awareness of systemic racism in America and personal stories from members of our church family who have experienced racism both within our church walls and beyond. Here are a few videos to help clarify why this work is urgent:
- Justice – The Bible Project – 5:45 min.
- Systemic Racism – Dr. Tony Evans – 6:06 min
- Racial Tension, Reconciliation and the Church – Latasha Morrison – 8:26 min
- The Danger of a Single Story – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – 10:08 min
Quest 2 is an 8-week program crafted by RRTF that furthers our exploration, using Jemar Tisby’s book, How To Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice, as an aid to our discussions. In our spring 2021 cohort, we focused on three areas of inequality and vetted local organizations that provide opportunities to get involved:
Criminal Justice (see also Second Chance Month below)
Be The Bridge BIPOC*
Be The Bridge BIPOC Care group – is a 3-week online course for people of color in our Trinity family. In the fall of 2021, it was led by Be The Bridge representative Patricia Taylor and Trinity leader Lea Smith. Please keep an eye on Trinity Happenings for future scheduling. In the meantime, Be The Bridge invites you to their online Be The Bridge BIPOC Care Group on Facebook. *Black and Indigenous People of Color
Outrageous Justice is a 6-week study from Prison Fellowship that helps curious minds gain an understanding of criminal justice issues and take action to promote peace and restoration from a Christian perspective. In our fall 2021 cohort, we vetted several local organizations that provided opportunities to get involved:
- Participatory Defense – Intro Video, Raj Jayadev (3:37 min)
- Color of Change
- Exodus Transitional Community
- Critical Resistance NYC
These documents from the Prison Fellowship website are also helpful:
- Successful re-entry doc (with many links to helpful organizations)
- Prison Visitation Guidelines (excellent downloadable “What to Expect” pdf)
- Outrageous Justice virtual small group study
As we enter an election year in 2022, we have an opportunity to support one of our most precious freedoms, the right to vote. It has been shown that restrictions to voting primarily affect people of color. Hopefully all of us, regardless of political party, are in favor of laws that make it as easy as possible for every American to cast their vote. Here are a few non-violent, non-partisan organizations that we recommend:
We urge everyone to stay informed and stay connected.
Second Chance Month
In 2017, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Prison Fellowship, and other national partners announced April as Second Chance Month. The following year, it was recognized by The White House in an official proclamation with bipartisan support. Second Chance Month raises awareness about the obstacles faced by over 70 million Americans with a criminal record and unlocks opportunities for them to succeed. (nacdl.org)
Second Chance Month focuses on community support for people who have been incarcerated and are now re-entering society. However, there are obstacles within our criminal justice and prison systems. Because of these unjust structures, formerly incarcerated people often face a “second sentence”. Our justice system disproportionately affects people of color. As Christians, we are called to respect and value every person as an image-bearer of God by treating them as we would like to be treated. (Matthew 7)
At Trinity, we see and deeply respect the victims of crimes. We also want people that commit crimes to have appropriate punishment under the law. We want to uphold due process of law to eliminate imprisonment of innocent people. And, we want to reconnect formerly incarcerated people to their communities in order to reduce recidivism.
What Happens After You Are Released From Prison? – Life Noggin video (3:40 min)
The 13th Amendment: Slavery is Still Legal Under One Condition – Big Think video (3:46 min)
The Prison Industrial Complex – An Explainer – Prison Diaries (2:11 min)
13th – 2016 documentary by Ava DuVernay. For mature teens and up. (trailer, 2:19 min)
Dollar Bill Brigade – Did you know that people are incarcerated in NYC all the time with a $1 bail? Often, these people are not given the opportunity to pay their bail or even informed of it until they have waited days or weeks for their court date. This organization advocates for the abolition of money bail, pre-trial detention, and the prison industrial complex.
NYcourts.gov – Find the info that you may need in order to represent yourself in NY court.