Our congregation has a long history of working for racial justice. Dating back to our earliest ministers who spoke out against slavery, we do our best to support causes of equality, from school integration to speaking out against police brutality. We wrestle with privilege and systems of white supremacy while seeking to use what power we have to fight discrimination and hate. Our congregation prominently displays a Black Lives Matter banner overlooking Central Park, and yet we know that such symbolic actions are just a beginning.

Our racial justice work is led by our Racial Justice Team, whose ministry has included holding vigils following police shootings, planning solidarity efforts in support of Muslim neighbors, holding worship services confronting white privilege and supremacy, and organizing for the #CloseRikers campaign, including collecting signatures, offering testimony at city hearings, and holding film screenings. Our adult education programming has also recently offered two programs on racial justice, seeking to expand our congregation’s awareness around racial justice issues, and shedding light on the patterns and systems of white supremacy still present even within our own faith community.

This exploration led to the creation of three teams in early 2020, devoted to naming and addressing areas of white supremacy in our congregation and ensuring that our congregation is as anti-racist as possible. The three teams are focused on worship, religious education, and membership/hospitality. We look forward to sharing their findings and suggestions soon!

Additionally, in the spring of 2019, our congregation formed our Person of Color Affinity (POC) Group. Meeting monthly on the third Sunday of the month, the group offers a place of community, support, and conversation for people of color in our congregation. If you are a person of color and are interested in participating, we hope you will join!

If you would like to get involved in these efforts, I invite you to contact our Senior Minister, Rev. Schuyler Vogel, at revschuyler@4thu.org, or our Racial Justice Team, led by Stephanie Coker and Zabby Hovey, at racialjustice@4thu.org. We look forward to being in touch!