By Cheryl Farrell, Morningside UCC
Tell your story—that’s my mantra and prayer. The blessing to share all sides of who we are is a path to anti-racism. When we know each other beyond skin color, age, and zip code, we are more likely to show empathy and care. Southern California Nevada Conference (SCNC) Conversations on Race reminds us that we have more in common that we are unalike.
As a Black woman of a certain age, I thought others would know the plight of walking or jogging in places where you are “foreign” to a neighborhood. How would they know? Sadly, it took the loss of Black lives from systemic racism to enable conversations to inform and educate.
Ironically, virtual meetings have helped form a UCC community to share and hear personal stories. Wednesdays at 1p.m. have become a welcome appointment for me. I have met people of faith who I would have never met.
Although the weekly gatherings have a Zoom host, the meeting facilitation is organic. We have ground rules for productive discourse, but there is purposeful intent to let the conversations go wherever attendees want them to go. That freedom can be frustrating for some people, but it is worth the struggle.
We have talked about the impact of certain words, assumptions, privilege, coping, access, and denial. We have prayed together, keeping God in the lens. We find solidity in people of all races who face racism. I am grateful for this safe space, including with people who don’t agree with me.
This community has opened the door to other opportunities with our SCNC family. I have experienced programs for Martin Luther King Day, Black History Month, AAPI workshops, Sunday worship services, and sessions on anti-vaccine concerns among people of color. At my home church, I make frequent reports about our discussions.
I wholeheartedly invite others to join Conversations on Race. The more perspectives, the better. We are in it together.
Cheryl Farrell is a corporate communications consultant and performance storyteller in Southern California. She is a member of Morningside UCC and an active participant in the SCNC's Conversations on Racism. Cheryl has a master's degree in communication management from USC and a bachelor's degree in economics from UCLA. She has been married for 35 years and has two adult children