This topic is one of the most important of our time. Current studies report that racial discrimination in the U.S. penal system is rampant, and legalized silence perpetuates the problem. Seventy-two percent (72%) of people in state prison for drug conviction are people of color, although blacks and whites buy and use drugs at roughly the same rates. Seventy-two percent (72%) of people in state prison for drug conviction are people of color, although blacks and whites buy and use drugs at roughly the same rates. In Washington State, blacks are 3.5 times more likely to be incarcerated for drug offenses than whites, and Native Americans are 1.8 times more likely. A Pew study found that, in the wake of the police shooting of an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, MO, 80% of blacks said that “this case raises important issues about race,” but only 44% of whites agreed, and 47% of whites said “race is getting more attention than it deserves.”
In today’s society, many systems of discrimination thrive because they remain invisible to those benefitting from them. As children of God, we are called to wake up, and to listen up. People of faith know the power of truth telling: speaking truth not only to those in positions of power, but first to ourselves. As Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has observed, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race….”
TI2016 presents conversation as a learning opportunity: a chance to engage in deep listening and truth telling and, as a result, develop the skills to create change within a troubled system. By having these difficult conversations, we can build the underlying skills and willingness to address the racial tensions of our time. “Not everything that is faced can be changed,” wrote the late James Baldwin, “but nothing can be changed if it is not faced.”
Who Is TI2016 for?
TI2016 is for anyone who is interested in a theological perspective on racial justice and a fuller understanding of present realities and ways to transform them. It’s not just for clergy – anyone interested is invited to attend. TI is also perfect for seminarians, students, activists, and young church leaders looking for new insights from thought leaders and change agents and all who are dedicated to or interested in striving for racial justice.
TI attendees may qualify for Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
What does TI2016 consist of?
After opening worship and a keynote address, plenary sessions will include talks by well-known and influential speakers, conversations with an exceptional group of panelists, and forums with TI’s engaged and passionate attendees. During Q&A sessions, attendees at Partner Sites may submit questions via email to be answered by panelists in real time. After the plenary sessions, participants break into small groups designed and facilitated to continue the conversation with peers, practicing the kinds of transformative conversations that may be carried back to their local contexts.
What does it cost?
There is no cost to attend TI2016 at Agnus Dei Lutheran Church! We will be receiving a free-will donation to help cover the cost of providing the conference and the food to all who attend.
Will food be provided?
Refreshments will be available throughout the day, and lunchwill be served at 12:45 pm on Friday and Saturday.