Racial Justice Accountability Meetings

In December 2020, the On Earth Peace Racial Justice Learning Action Community hosted a meet-up to help members of the group reflect and “re-situate” themselves in their racial justice advocacy. During that meeting, participants had time to reflect on their racial justice journey, discuss hopes and plans for 2021, and brainstorm what recurring accountability meetings could look like. 

For the next couple of months, the OEP Racial Justice LAC will host a six-session program of bi-weekly accountability meetings to talk about confronting policies and practices of racial injustice. In these meetings, we will hold each other accountable as we build on the educational work we’ve done in past years. We will build space in our cohort to “do the work” personally and to strategize together about organizing to dismantle systems of oppression. What are the specific policies and practices in your communities that uphold racial injustice? Who is in charge of these policies? Who is already working on change efforts?  How can you join or strengthen that work? 

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Internships: A Pandemic Recap

We are approaching the one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic shut down in the US.  A year ago, colleges began to close campuses and send students home- ending not only their in-person classroom experiences but also campus jobs and many internship opportunities.  A month later, OEP began to experience a growth in its internships, doubling the cohort from 10 to 20 interns.  We were ready to support students in remote internships, which was the original design for the program.

Throughout the pandemic, interns have contributed to the many offerings OEP has created to connect with constituents in their work for justice and peace.  As our Executive Director, Bill Scheurer, says  “Interns are involved in everything we do.”  In 2020, interns provided daily content on social media developed the #ReadAloud program for children (and adults), assisted with Community Meet Up webinars, facilitated Learning Action Community opportunities including book clubs, webinar series, community connections, and advocacy, supported the Kingian Nonviolence certification cohort, and collected stories for OEP’s JustLeaders campaign.  

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Read Aloud Project: February Books

The Read Aloud Project was created by Priscilla Weddle and Marie Benner-Rhoades to provide homeschooling resources in peace and justice during the pandemic. For February, the project celebrated Black History Month by reading books about the achievements of Black Americans along with books written by Black authors. If you are interested in recording a video for the project, please email us at [email protected]. Here are the books that were read for the project in February:

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed

Summary: This book is based on the story of Mae Jemison, the first Black woman to travel into space.

Reflective Questions: What do you want to be when you grow up? What kind of dreams do you have for the future? Do you ever draw pictures of what you want to be and put it on your wall?

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Author Spotlight: Dorena Williamson

Dorena Williamson Archives - B&H Publishing

I am always looking for new books, authors, and publishers to highlight for the read aloud project. The other day, my father and I were talking about my project and he mentioned how his former high school classmate, Dorena Williamson, was a children’s book author. This led me to look up some of her books and I was amazed by them. In her books, Williamson uses her experience as a worship leader to address important topics like race and justice. She currently has three published children’s books that can be found below.

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First Community Engagement Grants for Youth Announced

On Earth Peace is engaging youth groups by offering up to $500 in grant funding towards a youth-initiated project for peace and justice. If selected to receive a Community Engagement Grant, OEP will provide youth with training in the form of 3 webinars geared to their specific project and will support them along the way, to provide accountability and assistance. 

So far, the program has selected 3 groups, each with a unique take on tackling social justice issues in their community. The Borderless Relations Committee, formed out of Finlay, OH, is a group of three high school juniors who have begun training and researching to bring workshops to their local elementary school. Through activities, books, and discussion, the three will spread awareness about racism and teach about how to be anti-racist in their community. The next group, out of Harrisburg, PA, is the Agape Satyagraha Graduate Program with their project Peace Through Art. As of mid-January, they began painting murals in their community centering on social justice issues such as Black Lives Matter and gun violence. They say, “We will be learning together, creating together, and empowering our community together around the ideals of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.” Our most recent addition to the program is Lauren Anderson from Glade Valley Church of the Brethren, who will be working with OEP to create a Little Free Library with books on Racial Justice, LGBTQ+ Justice, and Gender Equality. Anderson will also be conducting Read Alouds to engage more directly with her community. 

The program is taking applications on a rolling basis and would be excited to hear your ideas for engaging your community. It has to be youth-initiated, and social justice oriented. The application, which provides more description and some examples of projects, can be found here: https://forms.gle/WMkMRMr3tUfmvY2B8 For any questions, email Laura Hay at [email protected] We look forward to seeing your ideas come to life!

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