Friday, January 4, 2019

NEW Program in the New Year: "American Racism: Yours, Mine, and Ours" in January and February 2019.

In a Huffington Post interview with the Franciscan contemplative Father Richard Rohr, he was asked, “As a society, what do we have to gain from dismantling white privilege?”  Father Rohr replied, “Justice and truth—and therefore freedom and happiness.”   Justice and truth are the underlying goals for a series of programs which will explore the persistent problem of American Racism: Yours, Mine, and Ours in January and February 2019.

When the Venice Interfaith Community Association board met last spring to begin planning its 2019 Winter Series of educational programs, the board agreed on one thing:  their desire to make a difference in the inequalities based on race and color in American society.  Across the board, all felt that the time is now to speak out against pervasive racism and to listen to those who can prepare us for working toward racial healing.  The Venice Interfaith board hopes that this ambitious undertaking will spark change in our community. 

All programs will be held at 7:00 p.m. at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 790 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice.  Donations will be gratefully accepted at the door.  More information is available at

January 21, Martin Luther King Day Celebration
Come celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.  with the spirit-filled, justice-seeking words of Dr. John Walker and stirring gospel music from Jet Stream, the outreach choir of Sarasota’s Booker High School

January 28, “The past is never dead.  It’s not even past”  
Jeff LaHurd, retired Sarasota County historian and Chief Judge Charles Williams of the 12th Judicial Circuit will talk about past practices of racism and what has changed (or not) in Sarasota County.  

February 4, “Black Like Me”
Almost sixty years ago, in Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin told his story of darkening his skin in order to experience life as a black man in the South.   Kristofer Geddie, General Manager for Venice Theatre, and Sandra Terry, Executive Director of the Laurel  Civic Association, will share their stories as black people living in a white-dominated society. 

February 11, “Building the Beloved Community”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s prescription for a healthy society was based on justice, equality, and love.  Dr. Marvin McMickle, President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, NY, will help us envision the possibilities of Dr. King’s beloved community .

February 18, “Racial Healing:  An Inner and Outer Journey” 
The essence of healing our racial divisions comes from transformation of our inner thoughts and outer actions.  Dr. Catherine Meeks, a lay preacher in the Episcopal Church and Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, will address the ways we can build healthy and respectful relationships across racial and ethnic lines.

February 25, “What We Believe Matters:  A Bonhoeffer Moment”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor who bravely spoke truth to power in resisting Nazism, was eventually executed for his actions.  Dr. Lori Hale Brandt, a recognized scholar of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s work, will guide us in moving from belief to action in her presentation.

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