Admitting our Racism in White Cloud
Six years ago, when Kathryn and I were considering moving from the Twin Cities to Saint Cloud, the Bishop’s Missioner for the Department of Indian Work and Multicultural Ministries, The Rev. Cannon Robert Two Bulls, said to me, “You know, George, they call it White Cloud.”
Today, about to begin our seventh year here, while the full spectrum of racism is evident every day in this community, I marvel at the relative constraint I am seeing here in response to recent events in Minneapolis, Atlanta, even right here in the city of St. Cloud this past week. Nevertheless, I was truly amazed to receive an email last week from Great Theater in Waite Park, the producer of most of the musical stage shows at the Paramount Theater, making an admission that we all must embrace.
It takes guts, plain and simple, to say what Great Theater is saying and has posted on their website. Here it is (the highlighting is mine).
“Confronting racism requires ongoing work that begins within each of us individually. We recognize racism runs deep within GREAT Theatre and that we have been complicit in its thriving. We know we can do better.”
Great Theater’s admission then became a promise to our community, and I trust, to themselves to do the things that we all must embrace and do, as they fit within our own skin. (Again, highlighting is mine, to underscore our own Christian calling.)
“We are committed to ongoing and consistent action, moving with urgency while identifying both immediate and long-term strategic actions, including but not limited to:
- examining our programming, practices, policies, and procedures that are perpetuating white supremacy within our own structures of creating art.
- listening, learning, and supporting substantive change to mobilize our art and organization to better live our Mission.
- providing a space for open dialogue, continued learning, and telling the stories of our community.
- collaborating with and gathering input from stakeholders in our community to find ways to produce more culturally/racially diverse art.
- intentionally seeking and building relationships with people who are committed to anti-racist work.
To the BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color) members of our community: We see you, we hear you, we grieve with you, and we will fight beside you.
We encourage our community to engage in the individual work of unlearning and learning and to hold us accountable.”
Deacon George’s Question: How will we as a faith community make and follow a similar covenant with this city and every person who lives in it?
Remember the car commercials – they may still be running – with the boy standing by the roadside as the turbocharged model flies by, and he says simply, “Zoom, zoom”? That little word has taken on a whole new meaning in this time of trying to keep communication open without meeting face to face.
For some of us, participating in two or three Zoom Meetings in a day is not uncommon. A cancelled Zoom Meeting has become cherished “free time.” The reality is, they can be mentally exhausting, no less than a day of in-person meetings. This week’s issue of Christian Century Magazine gets it. Here is their visual depiction of what is on many of our minds…
Have a Blessed Week!