Panelists announced for Episcopal Church State of Racism forum

Live webcast on Nov. 15; Day of workshops, discussions on Nov. 16

Posted Sep 11, 2013

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has announced the distinguished expert panelists for the November 15 live forum Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America.

The Episcopal Church will host and produce the 90 minute live forum in collaboration with the Diocese of Mississippi. The forum will be held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson, MS beginning at 1 pm Central (2 pm Eastern, noon Mountain, 11 am Pacific, 10 am Alaska, 9 am Hawaii).

“The Diocese of Mississippi is honored to be the site of this groundbreaking discussion,” commented Bishop Duncan Gray of the Diocese of Mississippi.  “Many important events in the history of the civil rights movement in our country occurred in Mississippi, and we have been using the anniversaries of these events as a time of truth telling and a renewal of our commitment to racial reconciliation and justice. This event will allow us to broaden and deepen these conversations and will be of great benefit to this church and the larger society.”

This year marks significant landmark anniversaries in the struggle to end discrimination, provide equal rights and combat racism: the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 50th anniversary of the pivotal March on Washington, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers, the 100th birthday of Rosa Parks.  In 1964 the Civil Rights Act was signed into law.

State of Racism Forum
The forum will be moderated by well-known journalist and PBS commentator Ray Suarez. Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will present the keynote address.

The forum will begin with a thought-provoking video.

Two panel discussions will focus on main themes: Racism in America today – why does it persist?  and Racism in America’s future – where is there hope for change?

Participating in the first panel – Why does racism persist? – are:

The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.
Ms. Myrlie Evers-Williams, civil rights activist and journalist and widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers
The Honorable William F. Winter, former governor of Mississippi and founder of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation

The second panel – Where is there hope for change? – will feature

The Honorable Byron Rushing, Massachusetts State Representative, civil rights leader and vice president of the Episcopal Church House of Deputies
Dr. Randy Testa, author, vice president of education at Walden Media LLC
Dr. Erma J. Vizenor, chairwoman of White Earth Band of Ojibwe, educator and community organizer
Tim Wise, educator and author of White Like Me, Colorblind and Affirmative Action.

Forum details
The live webcast of the forum will be available on the Episcopal Church website here.

Questions for the panelists can be emailed prior or during the forum to Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, at

Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America is ideal for live group watching and discussion, or on-demand viewing later.  It will be appropriate for Sunday School, discussions groups, and community gatherings.

Saturday workshops
On November 16, faith leaders and educators will gather to discuss and create curriculum and tools on the topics raised in Friday’s forum. The day-long event will be held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson, MS.

The workshops and presenters are:

• A Pastoral Response: The Rev. Neddie Winters of Mission Mississippi
• Welcoming Table for Youth and Anyone Working with Youth:  LeRoy Clemons and Jackie Martin of the William Winter Institute
• Racial Profiling: Who is Entitled to the American Dream: Merelyn Bates-Mims and the Bishop’s Task Force on Racial Profiling, Diocese of Southern Ohio
• Tools for Organizational Response to Racism: Executive Council’s Committee on Anti-Racism
• Racism Through Another Lens: “Yellow Peril”, “Enemy Aliens”, “Model Minority”: The Rev. Dr. James Kodera

In addition to the workshops, plenary presentations include Wise and Testa on Racism in America Today and another session on Where do we go from here?

The day will conclude with a screening of The Watsons Go to Birmingham.

For more information contact the Rev. Angela Ifill, Episcopal Church Missioner for Black Ministries

Registration to attend in person the Friday webcast, the Saturday events or both here.

Registration is not required to watch the forum.

Resources such as suggested readings, bibliography, videos, materials for community and individual review, discussion questions, and lesson plans will be available here.

This event embodies with two recent Episcopal Church General Convention resolutions: Resolution 2000 A-047 on Anti-Racism General Convention 2000:  Resolved, that the Episcopal Church continue its work to overcome the historic silence and complicity of our church in the sin of racism, that we become a church committed to ending institutional and other forms of racism, and that we overcome the historic silence and complicity of our church in the sin of racism; and Resolution A143 of General Convention 2009: to encourage dioceses to study slavery, segregation, and discrimination in their own communities.

The event also supports two Anglican Marks of Mission: in dealing with issues of racism a) To respond to human need by loving service (Mark 3), and b) To seek to transform unjust structures of society (Mark 4).

For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer,