Boston Racism: Pathways for Spirit-Led Action
By Megan Lietz, Director of EGC’s ReWe Initiative
Megan Lietz, MDiv, STM, directs Racism Education for White Evangelicals (ReWe), a program of EGC’s Race & Christian Community Initiative. The intended audience of ReWe ministry and writing is White Evangelicals (find out why).
Black people in Boston are treated differently than White people to this day. The Boston Globe’s compelling December 2017 Spotlight on Boston racism examines how.
Church, Jesus calls us to a love that heals, restores, and sets free. To express Jesus' love in these times, we must take the time to understand the problem of racism in Boston. It negatively shapes the daily experiences and life paths of people of color, who make up more than half of the Boston community. But no one is exempt from its influence. Racism impacts people of all races—in heart, mind, spirit, and body.
If you haven't done so already, I urge you to prayerfully read the Boston Globe’s spotlight on racism, linked below. Following that, I also offer some pathways forward—questions for reflection and suggestions for Spirit-led action. May we engage what it means for us to bear Christ’s presence in our communities today.
The GLOBE Spotlight on BOSTON RACISM
Though Boston is commonly perceived as a progressive city, many Black people feel unwelcome here.
If people of color are not given genuine influence in city planning and development, existing channels of power will favor the status quo.
Black and White people are three and four times more likely to attend certain hospitals than others, thus shaping their access to medical care.
Highly-recruited international students are coming to Boston at the expense of serving the African-American community in our own backyard.
Our celebrated sports teams have revealed and contributed to the racist reputation we’d like to shake.
Though Boston is a “minority-majority” city, the power holders in politics, business, and law are overwhelmingly White.
Seven suggestions for addressing racism in our city.
Responses ACROSS THE CITY
Don’t stop at reading the articles themselves—learn from readers' responses:
Prayerfully consider how you can contribute to God’s restorative work, and inspire others to do the same. Together, let’s nurture racial healing and justice in our city.
If Boston’s racism is news to you
Let it sink in. Create space and take time just to mourn the loss of what you thought Boston was. Explore your thoughts, feelings, and questions with God in prayer.
Consider sharing what you're learning with a trusted friend. Be mindful that this conversation can be emotionally taxing to friends of color.
Explore further with me and other White Evangelicals in a race learning community.
- Throughout, listen for God’s invitations. What might God be asking you to learn more about? Who is God calling you to connect with or come alongside? How are you called to be further equipped?
If you’re aware of Boston’s racism, but not taking action
Connect with others already taking action. Many Christian leaders have been working to further racial justice in Boston for years, decades, generations. One starting point is to spend time learning about their work and ask how you might support them.
Beware that sometimes inaction can stem from comfort, callousness, or complicity with a racist status quo. Prayerfully consider if your current inaction is accompanied by a willingness to rationalize, minimize, accept, and ultimately contribute to the problem.
Ask the Lord to increase your capacity for action. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you specific steps you can take in your family, church, community, or workplace to engage in racial healing and restoration.
Reach out to me for recommendations, for people to connect with, resources to explore, or a race learning community to join.
If you’re actively addressing Boston racism
Consider how God might be inviting you to refreshment or renewal in your work towards racial justice.
Reflect: What assets (skills, resources, relationships) are available to you for continuing Christ’s restorative work? What further assets could be available through prayer? Collaboration?
Share with us your ideas for how other parts of the Body could come alongside what God is already doing in racial healing in Boston. We'd love to share your stories and wisdom with Boston Christian leaders.
- Join a ReWe race learning community for White Evangelicals
- Discuss your ministry’s needs in addressing racism and how ReWe can support you
- Volunteer with the ReWe project