A Message From The Oregon Synod.

Listen to the voice of a Child of God and Sibling in Christ from within our synod community.

A note from LeVeta Gilmore Jones
Leaven Community

 On raising the next generation of children to dismantle racism and white supremacy in our world.

Our country is structured on the lie of white supremacy in order to justify the inhumane treatment of human beings with skin tones of brown. It is in this structural context I live and work as the African-American co-director of a multicultural, multilingual Leaven Community—through which the primary Euro-centric congregation of Salt & Light Lutheran is nested, and does it’s good work in the world. This relationship is complex as we endeavor to BE, LOVE & ACT…deepening relationships, building community and acting together in this systemic culture of white supremacy, racism and trauma.

Some experience Leaven Community as a multi-ethnic, bi-lingual community of folks. Some experience Leaven Community as a very Euro-centric community of folks. What do these experiences reveal about our institution? Our beloved community?

Truth telling has to be at the foundation of our conversations if transformation is the desired outcome because“[White supremacy and racism] is a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world.” scott wood

There are many ways to disrupt and dismantle the building blocks of white supremacy. All are needed.

The skin tone of my 3-year old granddaughter tells the Africa to European migration story of her mother’s ancestors and the African homeland story of her father’s ancestors. She is being raised in a culture where her humanity is automatically othered by the lie of white supremacy and racism because of her skin tone. 

The following reflection shared by my daughter-in-law surfaces powerfully subtle actions for disrupting and resisting this mindset. 

“I’ve been thinking. A lot. And as I mull and question what can be done both collectively and individually to dig out of this nation’s divisiveness, I always look at my child. She is the future. And while we can’t change the engrained mindset of much of our country, we CAN nurture and shape that of our children. So, I challenge you (whether you’re a parent/guardian, relative or friend) to look at the children in your life and ask yourself:

(1) what do their books look like?

(2) what do their toys look like?

(3) what do their favorite characters look like?

(4) have they been introduced to civil rights leaders and the concept of inequality, both past and present?

(5) have they been taught to see, acknowledge and embrace our differences in skin color, worship, foods, music, and language?

(6) what do their teachers, neighbors, and community leaders look like?

(7) is their world lens narrow or broad?

Our children, from a very young age, need to know. Because during these formative years is when we normalize topics, positively affirm differences, and shape the narrative we want them to live by. Raising our next generation with intention through the foods they eat, the interactions they participate in, the words they hear from their role models, and the faces they see is only a bandaid on our current crisis, but a deliberate step in creating safer sidewalks for our babies to walk (quite literally).” In closing our Leaven Community equity and inclusion statement says, “Recognizing our complicity in racist systems that oppress, harm and steal life we commit to transforming ourselves and to taking actions that resist, disrupt, and heal these broken systems. All life depends on it.”
The public lynching of George Floyd cries out for it.

Sending you all love,
LaVetaResources for talking to children about racism:Anti-Racism For Kids 101: Starting To Talk About RaceHere’s How W. Kamau Bell Talks About Race With His Kids100 Race-Conscious things you can say to your child to advance racial justiceArticle on Raising Race-Conscious Children4 Things We Should All Teach Kids About Racism Right NowFind more

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