Responding to Racism: What you can do

Saturday, June 6th, 2020

Logo for the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania

More than just a personal prejudice, racism is a systemic and institutionalized problem that continues to find new ways to seep into our legal system, politics, prisons, and yes, even our churches. With tears in our eyes and Christ in our hearts, we must do everything we can to confront and dismantle the structures and systems that allow such injustices to occur. – Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutiérrez


In light of the murder of George Floyd, the Anti-Racism Commission has assembled the following ways you can help right now.  The full document is here and below. 

Renewing our commitment to end racism

Not just an issue or a cause, anti-racism is a spiritual practice, a life’s work. For white people especially, it involves understanding and unlearning long-held patterns of privilege that harm people of color. For all of us, it requires creating communities committed to racial honesty, support and healing.

The Anti-Racism Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania suggests the following upcoming opportunities and resources as ways to pray, learn and live into a practice of racial justice and repair.



Pray the Great Litany: Monday June 8 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. join the Diocese of Pennsylvania in praying together the Great Litany as a prayer of repentance for the lives of people of color lost to police violence. See it on YouTube here.

Pray their names: In this year alone, at least one person of color per month has died at the hands of police or people associated with justice departments. Pray with these names and include them in the Prayers of the People at your parish:

William Green (Jan 27), Ahmaud Arbery (Feb. 23), Manuel Ellis (March 3), March – Breonna Taylor (March 13), Steven Demarco Taylor (April 18), Sean Read (May 6), George Floyd ( May 25), David McAtee (June 1).

Use these prayer resources, created by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music of the Episcopal Church.



Participate in diocesan Anti-Racism training. The Anti-Racism Commission offers an annual series of trainings to help parish staffs and members begin their work in racial justice. Upcoming trainings are:

  • June 13 from 9 a.m. to noon: Race and Institution. Learn more and register here.
  • July 25 from 9 a.m. to noon: Our Personal History with American Racism. Details will be posted at

Start a book discussion group to learn and discuss as a parish. The Antiracism Commission has multiple copies of the following books to get started: How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi; Living into God’s Dream by Catherine Meeks; Waking up White by Debbie Irvin; White Fragility by Robin DeAngelo. For information on these and other titles contact ARC co-chair, Rev. Lynn Hade at

Host a viewing party for the movie Just Mercy, Warner Bros. has announced that the 2019 Just Mercy will be available to rent for free in the US from Apple TV Plus, Amazon and other digital platforms, throughout June. Watch for free here. Then read Bryan Stevenson’s book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, and take the conversation deeper.

Engage your parish in ongoing racism education. Two exceptional resources from the Episcopal Church include Becoming Beloved CommunityWhere You Are: A Resource for Individuals, Congregations and Communities Seeking Racial Healing and The Sacred Ground Dialogue Series.

Find more resources on responding to racist violence at



A life practice of racial justice and healing requires change and transformation on every level, from the individual to our national and global systems. That means investing our resources and time in creating institutions that are racially just.

Get out the Vote. Our elected officials on all levels help determine whether our public institutions governing areas such as education, justice, and health are racially equitable and just. Choosing just representatives is essential to a just society. Vote Faithfully: An Election Engagement Toolkit put out by the Office of Government Relations of the Episcopal Church provides a variety of resources for voter mobilization and advocacy in 2020. Find more resources on their website.

Evaluate the level of racial justice in your local community. A google search will indicate whether your police are outfitted with body cameras or whether your city or town currently employs evidence-based police de-escalation trainings, writes blogger Corinne Shutack in 75 Things White People can do for Racial Justice. See the rest of her suggestions here.

Connect the dots on the current moment. Finding Brave Space with Dr. Meeks is a series of brief videos offered by Dr. Catherine Meeks, director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta,GA. The videos invite listeners to go deeper into their spiritual formation around tough issues of race and faith.

Do some internal work. “What can White people do to be allies to People of Color, and especially to Black people, in this particular moment?” writes Philadelphia-based race educator, Ali Michael. In her article, “What can White People Do?”. Michael suggests white people learn the names and stories of those who have died, reach out to friends of color who are struggling right now, and ask some deep personal questions on race in your own life. Read more here.

Blogger Taharee Jackson offers additional ideas in her blog post, “I’m White and I’m Outraged by Ahmaud Arbery’s Murder. Now What?”

Find Healing Spaces. The Office of Black Ministries of the Episcopal Church offers a curriculum in Healing from Internalized Oppression. For more information contact the Rev. Ronald C. Byrd, Missioner for Black Ministries,