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Racial Justice Resources

June 7, 2020 Worship Service

June 14, 2020 Worship Service

Vigil for Victims of Racial Violence

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Waking up White: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race

Debby Irving

In her desire to understand other races and cultures, Irving was surprised to find out she had to first understand what it meant to have a white racial identity. As the author shares her discovery that race was not simply something other people had, she serves as a guide to her readers as she learns to live with the discomfort of challenging assumptions and societal norms. Waking up White is an easy-to-read introduction to race and racism for those readers who are white.

White Fragility

Robin DiAngelo

Discussing racism is not easy for whites to discuss for a number of reasons. A key reason for discomfort is that whites can easily confuse the societal bias of racism with perceptions of individual accusations of racism, and thus become defensive. Author Robin DiAngelo has termed this defensiveness as "white fragility.” Identifying white fragility is the first step to equip whites in the work of dismantling of racism.

How to be an Antiracist

Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram Kendi uses his personal story to take his readers deep into the history of racism, and the concepts of being racist and an antiracist. He argues that you are either a racist or antiracist. Claiming to be a “non-racist” is simply masks support for racism. He also challenges a commonly held view that racist ideas are the result of ignorance and hate. Rather, self-interest is the source of racist ideas used to defend inequitable policies. Kendi offers a practical way forward for us to become an antiracist society.


Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Reynolds created a remix of Kendi’s award-winning Stamped from the Beginning, written for a young adult audience, and the result is an easy-to-read summary (for adults young and old) of how racism started and has been systemically perpetuated in the

U.S. While he makes the point that this is not a history book, per se, Reynolds’ book provides straight-forward historical background that lays bare many of the “justifications” for slavery and ongoing discrimination from the 1400’s through the present day.

So you Want to Talk about Race

Ijeoma Oluo

So You Want to Talk about Race helps readers understand how widely and deeply racism is embedded into our society. The chapter headings include the basics like “Is it really about race?” and “What is racism?” to the less obvious, “What is the school- to-prison pipeline?” and the incredulous, “Why can’t I touch your hair?” She challenges and encourages her readers how to recognize racism, to talk about racism, and to take action against racism.

Something happened in our Town: A Child’s Guide to Racial Injustice

Marianne Celano, & Marietta Collins & Ann Hazzard

A helpful children’s book to talk about racial violence with children. Like so many picture books, this is helpful for adults, too!

Website Resources

  • What is gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation?"
    In a Gender Binary system there are only two distinct options: male and female. Some people do not fit into the Gender Binary choices. The following paragraphs attempt to explain some of the terminology surrounding gender. Sex is determined by physical characteristics of the person. In a gender binary system, if a baby appears to have female external genitalia, then the sex is female, if a baby has male external genitalia then the sex is male. But sex is determined not only by genitalia, but by reproductive organs, chromosomes, and hormones. People with ambiguous genitalia or other biological complexities may identify as Intersex. Gender identity is a person’s internal sense of self. For most people, our sense of our gender aligns with the category originally identified at birth. This is referred to as cisgender. For transgender people, their internal sense is self is in some way different than their birth certificate. Gender identity can also be experienced as neither woman nor man, or a combination of woman and man. Some people in the middle of the gender identity spectrum identify as gender-queer. Gender expression is how we live as a gendered person, including clothing, career, and hobbies. In our society, gender expression is guided by a complex set of cultural rules and expectations as to what is appropriate behavior for men and women. People that do not fit the rigid definition of masculine or feminine may identify as gender non-conforming. People with equal combination of masculine and feminine may identify as androgynous. Sexual orientation is whom the person is attracted to. In a Gender Binary system the person is attracted only to the opposite sex. Sexual orientation is complex and people may be attracted to the same sex or both sexes. People that are attracted to both sexes may identify as bisexual, pansexual, or queer.
  • Why do we have to go through the ONA process as our church already welcomes all?
    While the United Church of Christ (UCC) has been involved in ONA in some form since in 1969, not all UCC churches have gone through the process and become an official ONA church. The process of ONA discernment is an important step, so that all voices of the congregation have an opportunity to be heard. The discussions during the discernment process allow us to build relationships, as we discover shared values and grow in faith. A public statement that UCC Tolland is officially ONA sends a clear message to all seekers, including the LGBT community, as well as straight folks that identify with the values that ONA represents. In addition, our congregation’s support of an ONA covenant can be a life-saving moment for those who may have felt excluded from society in some manner, especially for LGBT youth. If we become ONA, our church will be listed on the UCC and ONA Coalition’s websites so that Christians looking for a church family can be assured of a welcome from our congregation. This public welcome statement can actually help our church grow.
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