(G)RACE Speaks

What is (G)RACE Speaks?

The (G)RACE Speaks Committee works to affirm the God-given dignity of every human person by promoting sacred conversations about matters of race within the life of Old South Church. The committee fosters diversity awareness throughout the church with the goal of becoming proficient at protecting the dignity of self and others. Reliance on the Seven Gifts of the Spirit—Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Fortitude, Piety and Wonder—grounds (G)RACE Speaks in biblical and theological language and thought. This is a Christian undertaking.

Speak Out With (G)RACE Speaks: February Offerings

  • BLACK HISTORY MOMENTS:  Sundays in February during 10 am All Church Worship
  • THE FORUM: COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS
    • Sunday, February 7, 11 am: “Say Amen, Somebody” - A discussion with Tim Harbold, Mitchell Crawford, Sayida Rivers, and members of the OSC Gospel Choir about George Nierenberg’s 1982 documentary about the history and significance of gospel music, as told through the lives and trials of its singers. You can view the documentary in advance for free by clicking here. Password: Boston
    • Sunday, February 14, 11am: Racial Wealth Gap and Investing in Black-Owned Banks, part 1 - Learn more about the historical and political factors that have helped to shape the racial disparities in wealth in this nation, including redlining, banking deserts, and discrimination in financial institutions.  Explore ways to take action and advocate for policy change to address these disparities.
    • Sunday, February 21, 11 am: Racial Wealth Gap and Investing in Black-Owned Banks, part 2 - Learn more about how you can lobby your bank to make changes to address the racial wealth gap. We will be joined by Teri Williams, President & COO of OneUnited Bank, who will share more about what this Black-owned bank is doing to help build wealth in black communities. This will be an opportunity for Old Southers to learn more about how they can use their resources to address the racial wealth gap.
    • Thursday, February 25, 7pm: “The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song,” - Join City Mission and (G)RACE Speaks for a discussion of Henry Louis Gates’s PBS documentary series.  We will be in conversation with Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, Rev. Darrell L. Goodwin, and Rev. Alicia Marie Johnson, and the conversation will be moderated by Rev. Inez Dover.   We encourage you to watch the four-hour series in advance on our local PBS network: February 16 and 23 at 9PM.
    • Sunday, February 28, 11 am: Additional community conversation for Black History Month

Anti-Racism Workshops

Each workshop will be offered twice:

  • April 11 or 12:  Anti-racism Workshop 1
  • April 18 or 19:  Anti-racism Workshop 2
  • April 25 or 25:  Anti-racism Workshop 3
  • May 2 or 3: Anti-racism Workshop 4

Phillis Wheatley Sunday

Join us May 9 for the culmination of this season of speaking out, singing out, and marching on.   At this service Old South will present its annual Open Door Award to a living legend, Byron Rushing.

Why We Created the (G)RACE Speaks Committee

On March 18, 2018 at the 348th Annual Meeting of Old South Church in Boston, our congregation voted to officially adopt the (G)RACE Speaks Committee into the our by-laws. This historic decision reflects our deep commitment to fighting for racial justice and equality both inside of our church and in the world beyond our doors. Matters of race are not going away. They are much with us in the world and they are much with us in our own Christian family. Issues of race affect our own members personally, directly, and sometimes painfully.

We hope to meet these challenges head on by institutionalizing an on-going vehicle for addressing race-based privilege, racial stereotyping, discrimination, and indignities that harm all. We believe that a Standing Committee (with “standing”), whose membership will be replenished over the years by the Leadership Committee, both communicates the seriousness with which the Church takes issues of race, and enables on-going matters of race to receive the theological and spiritual attention they deserve.

We furthermore assert that the strength, integrity, and wellbeing of our Church family depends upon the willingness of all of our members to regard issues of race for what they are: intimate and personal, tricky and complicated, endemic and inherited. We further believe that our Still-Speaking God, “the God who made from one blood all the peoples of the earth” (Acts 17.26) demands this of us.

To this end, we believe the work of the (G)RACE SPEAKS Committee complements the on-going work of Old South Church. For more information, contact Committee Chair Tracy Keene at tracy_keene@harvard.edu.