Alabama Civil Rights Pilgrimage Ripples Across First Church

Our church is already experiencing ripples from February’s Alabama Civil Rights Pilgrimage, beginning with the seed money we fundraised for future trips and educational experiences! Did you know that we raised $2,300 more than needed to cover scholarships and pilgrimage expenses? Thank you to everyone who generously donated towards the pilgrimage fundraiser! Your gifts are living on!

The March 3 worship service and learning hour were filled with testimonials by different pilgrims of how they were changed from their pilgrimage experiences.

Inspired by the learnings of the pilgrims, our church family spent the latter half of the learning hour brainstorming ideas for how to carry on the legacies of Civil Rights leaders locally.

If you missed the learning hour on March 3, here is the recording link (passcode required: .YGJz9tC) and the slideshow link for the images the pilgrims shared during the learning hour.

Here are the brainstormed ideas, organized into categories of actions:

  • Create a resource list to provide us with opportunities for learning individually, including through books, podcasts, movies, etc. to learn about  — see preliminary resource list compiled by pilgrims here
  • Continue to host learning sessions to support our skill development in becoming more informed and more antiracist, such as this Sunday’s Learning Hour with Dr. Roxanne Manning, or an internal biases workshop, or an Inward Bound workshop
  • Organize book club groups on different topics, such as “How to Have Antiracist Conversations” (also Dr. Roxy Manning)
  • Form small groups to learn about different topics, including the work of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) (see videos and narratives on EJI website and Legacy Museum‘s website), 
  • Design opportunities to learn our local history together, such as the history of different groups that are still marginalized in CA, Berkeley as the birthplace of “modern policing,” the influence of KKK in CA, internment camps, how Berkeley redevelopment for Ashby BART Station’s affected African American community in Shattuck Square neighborhood
  • Organize local pilgrimages to visit sites to learn about local racism and Civil Rights history and to visit local museums together (Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive’s spring exhibit “A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration“, SF’s Museum of African DiasporaHuey Newton Foundation BPP MuseumWomen of Black Panther Party Museum, etc.) 
  • Address mass incarceration issue by supporting organizations working to defend and/or free people with monthly offering donation
  • Engage in more prison work, including letter exchange with people who are incarcerated, finding opportunities to educate the community about the issue of mass incarceration, support the Interfaith Coalition for Justice for Our Jails, connect with Micky Duxbury
  • Support people who have been incarcerated, such as supporting clinics that accompany people who have been recently released from prison
  • Seek out opportunities to work towards racial justice and reparations, such as supporting nonprofits that spearhead reparations efforts (e.g. Equitable Black Berkeley Initiatives, Healthy Black Families, continue supporting Black Wealth Builders Fund with our Offering, add Black Wealth Builders to pledge cards as additional sustaining giving option)
  • Raise awareness in community through education efforts, such as working with local museums (Oakland Museum of California?) to create mini-Legacy Museum exhibits, creating an exhibit at our church with artwork, working with scouting troops to help build monuments as part of eaglescout projects
  • Create a field book for a local “legacy tour”
  • Create informational plaques that commemorate our history around Berkeley
  • Keep an active prayer discernment about antiracism work collectively and individually so that when opportunities arise for us to respond with justice, we are ready with open hearts
  • Plan future pilgrimage experiences that are accessible and affordable to more people, possibly combining resources with other churches and traveling together
  • Connect through arts, such as forming crafting circles, including quilting
  • Organize voter/elections activities
  • Connect with other churches doing this work

If you feel inspired to lead an action, please let Rev. Molly know!