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Racial Justice – What is Our Role? What is Your Role?

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By Lynn Buske and Rebecca Wurzer (edited by Michelle Pride) 

JONAH members, like other community members, have been disturbed and angered by the violence against our brothers and sisters of color. Our emotions are a roller coaster as we see people rising up and making their voices heard. We, as an entire organization, have been evaluating our role and response, and, as a predominantly white organization we intend to continue our work to DIG DEEP into our personal implicit biases and understanding our role in racism, and to LISTEN to those who have been oppressed.  

We invite you to participate to learn and share together. We will communicate the work we are doing in our board meetings and we invite you to participate in our book group that is diving into the subject.  (Read more about the group below.)

Additionally, we want to redirect your anger into action!  Consider participating in JONAH leadership training to obtain tools to help you organize and generate change the way you’d like to!  This training is designed to help everyone, and especially those who have been oppressed by current systems, to find their voice and their power – because these are voices we must listen to. Contact cvjonahorganizer@gmail.com to sign up for our next training. 

If you want to get involved with actions already underway, we’d like to get to know you, find out more about your interests and skills, and direct you to an existing group or activity.  Watch our Facebook calendar for updates. 

The JONAH Book Club has been meeting on the 4th Monday of every other month.  Our first discussion was held in March and the second in May, both using ZOOM.  We have been having wonderful discussions and numbers are growing.  We had 11 for “The Color of Law” – and two discussions on this book.

Our first book, “The Sun Does Shine”, is an excellent book by Anthony Ray Hinton, a black man from Alabama, who spend thirty years on death row for two murders that he did not commit. After Hinton was arrested a police lieutenant said to him, “I don’t care whether you did or didn’t do it.  In fact, I believe you didn’t do it.  But it doesn’t matter.  If you didn’t do it, one of your brothers did.  And you’re going to take the rap.”  Then he told Anthony that there were five reason why he was going to be convicted.  “Number one, your black.  Number two, a white man gonna say you shot him.  Number three, you’re gonna have a white district attorney.  Number four, you’re gonna have a white judge.  And number five, you’re gonna have an all-white jury.”

The second book, “The Color of Law: by Richard Rothstein, outlines how government agencies and actions at the federal, state and local level have resulted in and perpetuated segregation in America. This was a very timely book due to the recent world- wide protesting demanding police reform and an end to systemic racism.

The next book club will be held on July 22. At 3:00pm. We will be discussing “How To Be An Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi.  If you are interested in participating, let Rebecca Wurzer know at wurzerrp@uwec.edu at soon as possible.