A Reflection and a Webinar
by Ken Howard
Why is FaithX offering webinars on systemic racism?
I thought y’all did data-grounded missional discernment and demographic mapping.
We at FaithX get this question often these days.
And my own first, somewhat snarky response is usually, “Exactly!”
But I then offer a somewhat longer and more serious explanation: That we at FaithX felt we had to bring our expertise and experience to bear on Systemic Racism because it is the frequently-unnoticed ‘base map’ underlying all the work that we have done since we launched in late 2016.
Of course, the more obvious thing revealed in visual form by our mapping was the clear, continuing, and pernicious segregation of race and ethnicity. But as we dug down deeper into various issues affecting neighborhoods, we also saw the impacts of systemic racism visually revealed there as well. We saw historical evidence of how in places where “redlining” was imposed, actions taken in the aftermath of the Great Depression had reverberated down the decades with impacts that continue today. Not just an almost one-to-one relationship between official redlining in the 30’s to the unofficial patterns of segregation we see today, but a relationship between the patterns of racial and ethnic predominance today and a host of negative impacts from chronic-diseases, to access to health care and insurance, to local government educational spending, to educational attainment. And we believed that the visual evidence that was so emotionally convincing to us that it would not only be equally compelling to others but would define for them concrete issues in their own communities that they could take concrete actions to address. Rural America may not have experienced official “redlining,” but the presence and the impacts of Systemic Racism are as real there as anywhere else.
In our webinar, Mapping Systemic Racism in Rural America (4/21/21 | 1–2pm ET), we will be working with Faith Lutheran Church in Bagley, Minnesota as our case story, exploring the presence and impact of systemic racism in their surrounding communities, which include the White Earth, Red Lake, and Leech Lake Native American reservation. In preparation for this webinar we have mapped dozens of community issues in and around Bagley and their relation to race and ethnicity. At this webinar we will reveal the same kind of starkly differentiated impacts that we have seen in the urban and suburban communities, with whom we have worked, and just as importantly, the ways that mapping systemic racism can help you have a real-world impact on the rural communities you serve.