Anti-Racism Task Force asks Louisiana Conference to Take Positive Steps

Mark Lambert
June 17, 2022


All Methodists in the Louisiana Conference should take specific steps to know and understand “race, racial history, increased equality, education, and advocacy,” according to a report presented Friday at the 2022 Annual Conference in Baton Rouge.

The Anti-Racism Task Force, chaired by Rev. Tiffanie Postell of Newman United Methodist Church in Alexandria, also proposed that the conference urge the Louisiana Legislature to create a second majority-Black Congressional District. The conference later approved that measure with a near-unanimous vote.

Racism is “a person-made issue,” task force member Jennifer Rossnagel said. “If we made it, we can tear it down. We can change it.”

We cannot love issues, but we can love people, and the love of people reveals to us the way to deal with issues
Henri Nouwen

Rossnagel reminded the conference that Friday was the seventh anniversary of the Charleston, S.C., shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in which nine African-American Bible study participants were murdered. She wanted the conference to recognize that “our black and brown brothers and sisters with us are hurting.”

She concluded her remarks by quoting Henri Nouwen, "We cannot love issues, but we can love people, and the love of people reveals to us the way to deal with issues."

The task force wants to “create a shift in action, thoughts, and system in the Louisiana Conference,” the report says. The ongoing conversation about racial issues “challenges our Conference and its people as we move toward greater discernment of disparities within our system and the world around us and take steps toward equality and justice for all.”

Besides the petition, the specific actions the task force called upon Louisiana Conference delegates to take include:

  • Join an online book study of Called to Reconciliation: How the Church Can Model Justice, Diversity, and Inclusion by Jonathan C. Augustine. Augustine, a New Orleans native and North Carolina pastor, spoke on the second day of the conference. The study of his book will be led by members of the Task Force and via zoom. Registration information will be forthcoming via Louisiana Now.
     
  • Contribute to the Conference Anti-Racism Resources Page. The Task Force asks that Louisiana Conference delegates contribute books, movies, podcasts, and other resources “you have found helpful, or challenging.”
     
  • Travel with to historic Civil Rights Centers. The Task Force plans to organize small group trips to various Civil Rights destinations, such as the Center for Equal Justice and Whitney Plantation. The purpose of these trips is to cultivate deep relationships among the participants through shared learning experiences followed by personal reflection and group conversation.

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