Updated: May 26
By Cheryl Farrell, Morningside UCC
Tell your story—that’s my mantra and prayer. Sharing 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 am surprised by how few people know the plight of walking, jogging, or just being in places where you are “foreign” to a neighborhood. How would they know? Sadly, it took viral social media exposure of Black lives lost from systemic racism to enable conversations that inform and educate.
Although the weekly Conversations on Race gatherings have a Zoom host, the meeting facilitation has been organic. We have ground rules for productive discourse, but it is purposeful to let conversations go wherever attendees want them to go. At times, that freedom was frustrating for me.
Weekly news events about police shootings of Black people or political episodes have prevented healing of racial wounds. I will admit to my early exasperation with those who unwittingly tried to explain away continued violence and injustice. Our group has talked about the impact of certain words, assumptions, privilege, coping mechanism, and denial. I am grateful for this safe space that even includes people who don’t agree with me. Thankfully, we have prayed together, keeping God in the mix
The weekly calls created a tight UCC community to share and hear personal stories. I found solidarity with people who face racism or any type of “–ism.” I have met people of faith who I would have never known otherwise. The community created opportunities to share programs with other SCNC congregations. I participated in and attended 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.
The struggle remains real, but not hopeless. I wholeheartedly invite others to join Conversations on Race. The more perspectives, the better. We are in this 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