Discussion: We Still Have a Dream to End Racism

SUN, JAN 18, 2015 (2:05:51)

In light of increasingly intense, racially charged events in Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere across the country, Trinity Church in the City of Boston is elevating race relations as a point for public discussion.

To spotlight what Trinity Church’s Rector, the Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd, calls “the urgent issue of our time,” Trinity is sponsoring the inaugural Anne B. Bonnyman Symposium – “We Still Have a Dream: End Racism” – on Sun., Jan. 18, 2015. Free and open to the public, the symposium will be held at Trinity Church, Copley Square.

Moderator: The Honorable Barbara Dortch-Okara

+ BIO: The Honorable Barbara Dortch-Okara

Judge Barbara Dortch-Okara has been a professor of law at the New England School of Law since January 2013. In December 2013, she was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to the position of Chair of the State Ethics Commission.

Judge Dortch-Okara was a justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court from 1989 until her retirement from the bench in 2012. Prior to her elevation to the Superior Court, she served as a justice of the Boston Municipal Court. From 1998 to 2003, she served a five-year term as Chief Justice for Administration and Management of the Trial Court.

In 1992, Barbara Dortch-Okara joined her husband, Dr. Ebi Okara, as a member of Trinity Church Boston. She was elected to Trinity’s Vestry in 2005 and served a four-year term; as a Vestry member, she was appointed by the Rector to the Trinity Church Anti-Racism Planning and Design Task Force. The work of this task force resulted in the formation of Trinity’s Anti-Racism Team in 2007; Barbara was a member of the Anti-Racism Team for three years. She has been a volunteer and rider for the Team Trinity Ride for Kids outreach ministry for many years.

+ BIO: Marian Wright Edelman

Mrs. Edelman, a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, began her career in the mid-60s when, as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. In l968, she moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People's Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. She founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent body of the Children's Defense Fund. For two years she served as the Director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University.

Mrs. Edelman served on the Board of Trustees of Spelman College which she chaired from 1976 to 1987 and was the first woman elected by alumni as a member of the Yale University Corporation on which she served from 1971 to 1977. She has received many honorary degrees and awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship.

+ BIO: The Right Reverend Michael Bruce Curry

Michael Bruce Curry was elected 11th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina on February 11, 2000; he was consecrated on June 17, 2000 in the Duke University Chapel in Durham, North Carolina.

Born in Chicago, Illinois on March 13, 1953, Bishop Curry attended public schools in Buffalo, New York and graduated from Hobart College in Geneva, New York, in 1975. He received a Masters of Divinity degree from the Yale University Divinity School in 1978.

Bishop Curry was ordained to the diaconate in June 1978 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Buffalo, NY by the Rt. Reverend Harold B. Robinson and to the priesthood in December 1978 at St. Stephen’s Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina by the Rt. Reverend John M. Burgess. He was rector at St Stephen’s from 1979-1982. He subsequently accepted a call to serve as the rector of St. Simon of Cyrene in Lincoln Heights, Ohio, where he served from 1982-1988. In 1988, he was called as rector of St. James Church, Baltimore, Maryland where he served until his election as a bishop in 2000. Bishop Curry’s book of sermons, Crazy Christians, was published in August 2013.

+ BIO: Liz Walker

Award-winning journalist and documentary producer, Liz Walker is Host and Executive Producer of WBZ 4's Sunday With Liz Walker, a half hour newsmagazine airing Sundays presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. The show, which focuses on the power of community, is an extension of Liz's new ministry. An ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a 2005 graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Walker has chosen to combine her communication skills with her spiritual passion to serve the world. Walker has been a television news journalist for 32 years, anchoring WBZ Television's evening newscasts for almost 20 years before stepping down to enter seminary and begin the ordination process.

Recognized often for her exemplary work on the air and in her community, Walker received the Prestigious Governor's Award from the New England branch of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 1997. In addition to her work in news, Walker has hosted and co-produced several documentaries for WBZ4, including "Friends Like These," for which she received recognition from the prestigious Gabriel Awards.

A graduate of Olivet College in Michigan, Walker earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications. She holds a number of honorary degrees from colleges and universities around the commonwealth, including Northeastern University and Bridgewater State University. She is also a member of the board of Trustees at Andover Newton Theological Seminary.

+ BIO: Tim Wise

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S., and has been called, "One of the most brilliant, articulate and courageous critics of white privilege in the nation," by best-selling author and professor Michael Eric Dyson, of Georgetown University. Wise has spoken in 48 states, and on over 400 college campuses, including Harvard, Stanford, and the Law Schools at Yale and Columbia, and has spoken to community groups around the nation. Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers nationwide, and has trained physicians and medical industry professionals on how to combat racial inequities in health care. He has also trained corporate, government, entertainment, military and law enforcement officials on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions, and has served as a consultant for plaintiff's attorneys in federal discrimination cases in New York and Washington State.

Wise is the author of White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, and Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White. A collection of his essays, Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male, will be published in the Fall of 2008, and his fourth book, Between Barack and a Hard Place: Race and Whiteness in the Age of Obama, will be released in Spring, 2009. He has contributed chapters or essays to 20 books, and is one of several persons featured in White Men Challenging Racism: Thirty-Five Personal Stories, from Duke University Press. He received the 2001 British Diversity Award for best essay on race issues, and his writings have appeared in dozens of popular, professional and scholarly journals. Wise has been a guest on hundreds of radio and television programs, worldwide.

Wise has a B.A. in Political Science from Tulane University, where his anti-apartheid work received global attention and the thanks of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He received training in methods for dismantling racism from the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond, in New Orleans.

+ BIO: Debby Irving

Debby Irving was raised in Winchester, Massachusetts during the racially turbulent years of the 1960s and ‘70s. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College and a Master in Business Administration from Simmons College. As general manager of Boston’s Dance Umbrella and First Night, and later as a teacher for 25 years in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ms. Irving struggled to make sense of tensions she could feel but not explain in racially-mixed settings. She recognized the need to understand racism as a systemic issue, and she also recognized that her own whiteness presented an obstacle to grappling with racism.

In 2009, a graduate school course that she took at Wheelock College, “Racial and Cultural Identities,” provided the beginnings of answers to her questions and launched her on a journey of discovery. Ms. Irving now devotes herself to exploring with others the impact that white skin can have on perception, problem solving, and engagement in racial justice work. Her book, Waking Up White, tells the story of her “awakening.”

Partner
Trinity Church
Series
Anne Berry Bonnyman Symposium
Boston Talks About Racism