What is a Change Team and what does it have to do with Racial Justice work?

Greetings from the WSUU Racial Justice Change Team! We’d like to give everyone a better sense of what we’re all about, starting with why specifically we decided to call ourselves the “Racial Justice Change Team.” A “Change Team” is a group who identifies existing barriers to achieving desired outcomes in a specific area of an organization and who then supports the organization in creating and implementing a plan to address those barriers.

The WSUU’s Racial Justice Change Team formed last spring and we’ve been focusing on how we, as a church community, can examine white privilege and our own place in it. In doing this hard and sometimes uncomfortable work, our goal is to create a more inclusive, welcoming culture here and in the larger community. We’re working to identify ways to effectively collaborate with People of Color and to create and implement learning opportunities, inclusive practices, and even improvements to church policy based on our community’s needs. One of first initiatives has been Beloved Conversations, a curriculum that uses a small group ministry format to explore the role of race/ethnicity in individual and congregational lives. We’re planning to offer this curriculum again in the fall.

Our Change Team is inspired by the work of many other organizations that are dedicated to interrupting the norms and practices of the status quo that perpetuate structural racism. Here in Seattle there are some great examples of the Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative forming change teams to help various City departments create work plans with racial justice outcomes using a Racial Equity Toolkit. King County also uses strategic plans and change teams to build capacity to address racial equity.

If you’re curious or questioning about our use of the terms “white privilege” and “structural racism,” we urge you to keep reading and discussing. In the next few weeks we’ll be sending out information about what the WSUU Racial Justice Change Team has done so far, including our purpose statement, suggested readings, updates about Beloved Conversations, and equity tools we’re considering that would be a great fit for our congregation. Stay tuned, and thanks for listening!

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